Malta’s English language schools have welcomed the publication of a legal notice allowing exceptions to be made to a government order for them to close, despite no clear explanation as to what the new notice’s implications are.
This morning the government published a legal notice which amends one issued previously ordering schools’ closure, and adds to it a clause allowing the Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci from issuing standards and issuing exemptions from the order wherever they are deemed “necessary or essential”.
No explanation has been provided as to why and how exemptions will be issued and what has caused the change in policy.
In a statement this afternoon, the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations welcomed the new legal notice which it said was “aimed at allowing for exceptions and special permissions in line and in full respect of decisions taken by the health authorities”.
“The Superintendent of Public Health has followed with amendments which include the reopening of schools which operate for fully-vaccinated adult students,” FELTOM said.
“FELTOM has always stood up for the various serious operators in the sector, a sector which has been crippled by the sudden decision to close the classrooms after a spike in cases attributed to some of our students.
“This notwithstanding, the fact that statistics show that only a small percentage of foreigners aged between 0-24 who visit Malta, come to learn English,” the federation said.
It added that it strongly believed that the reopening of schools should be “solely and exclusively for fully-vaccinated adult students who have every right to visit Malta as any other fully-vaccinated tourist”.
“Denying them this right is, in itself, discriminatory and will further damage the sector financially and reputationally,” FELTOM said.
It reiterated its “unequivocal position” and support to address the ongoing enforcement concerns, “some of which were raised by the federation itself”.
The industry as a whole, it said, had in fact suffered because of a lack of enforcement with certain operators in the sector.
“The change in the legal notice is the first step towards the industry to return to normality and and is welcomed as long as the schools are able to welcome all vaccinated students to reduce the damages caused after the sudden closure of our sector,” the federation said.