Malta’s language school federation has raised major concerns on the impact recent abrupt forced closures due to COVID-19 will have on the industry.
The Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations Malta (FELTOM) highlighted that the closures have left language schools in “complete panic and disarray” while insisting that 2,000 at-risk employees must be protected.
The new rules, which dictated that English language schools needed to shutter their doors, go into effect today.
“The only thing we are getting is a ‘wait and see’ attitude,” one particularly upset FELTOM member stated.
“To make matters more confusing, Malta has now just decided to start welcoming unvaccinated people, albeit with a 14-day quarantine period and yet, the country continues to discriminate against adult vaccinated English language learners who are not being allowed into their schools – those currently on the island and those still due to arrive.”
They are eagerly awaiting a response from the government following a meeting that both sides had yesterday.
In the meeting, FELTOM outlined a list of suggestions to work with the government to tackle the current crisis. Namely, these emphasised the need to protect all staff and students (as well as the rest of Malta) from the virus. It also outlined allowing vaccinated, adult students to continue to learn face-to-face without delay.
Additionally, FELTOM has stated their desire to work with the government to prevent what they claim to be a potential “reputational disaster” for both language schools and the tourist industry across Malta.
FELTOM members have seen over 15,000 booking cancellations since the announcement last Friday with a loss in revenue of around €36 million as a consequence that highlights how fragile the situation is.
Malta’s language schools, which form part of a 58-year-old industry on the island, have been thoroughly decimated and “scapegoated” with companies already going into liquidation. It is these harsh realities that the industry faces.
After following all guidelines and protocols set by the government, FELTOM has stated that language schools have been unfairly singled out because of “a unilateral decision taken by the highest authorities on how the tourism industry was opened last June”.
As things stand, FELTOM and its members have been left in limbo, awaiting the reply to questions and suggestions it has put forth to the government.
Do you feel like the language industry is being treated fairly?