Plans to increase fines to parents who do not send their kids to school has sparked a heated debate on social media.
The updated Education Act sees the fines for student absenteeism increased from €2 daily to anywhere between €100 and €500 and in certain situations can even include a prison sentence of up to three months.
Many have voiced their absolute support for the new measure. Still, others feel that it is far too intrusive.
The new measure comes off the back of the COVID pandemic which forced schooling to go remote. However, parents are still reluctant to send their children back to school; increasing their exposure to the potential virus.
Many feel that forcing their hand to do so was unfair and expressed their point of view on social media.
Some also expressed fear that the new more heavy-handed approach would result in parents sending their kids to school even when they showed symptoms of the flu or worse.
With others speculating that the fines were just another money-making scheme by the government.
“With all respect to the government, this is another way of collecting taxes and fines,” said one comment.
That being said a large number of the people who took to Facebook were very much in favour of the new measure stressing the importance for kids to get back to a “normal” routine while being able to freely interact with their peers.
Other arguments revolve around how it is time for children to go back to school and get an education, after enjoying their summer months.
This is over and above the already existing issue which Malta’s education system faces when it comes to absenteeism and below average results in O levels when compared to the European average.
The debate is set to take centre stage once schools open and the first fines are dished out but whether the initiative will prove to have a positive or negative impact remains to be seen.
Do you agree with the fine increases?