Over the past three years, 1,756 parents were asked to appear before a local tribunal for failing to send their children to school, Education Minister Justyne Caruana has revealed.
The minister was responding to a parliamentary question from Nationalist MP Hermann Schiavone, who asked the minister for the number of parents accused of not sending their children to school.
Schiavone also asked what action had been taken by the authorities as a result.
Caruana told Parliament that over the past three years, 1,756 parents were called to appear before the local tribunal to answer for the fact that their children had not been present at school.
It is unclear what the outcome of these tribunal sittings was and whether or not fines were issued. It also isn’t clear which years the absenteeism had taken place in.
Amendments to Malta’s Education Act early last month saw fines for student absenteeism increase from €2 every day, to between €100 and €500 in certain situations, with guardians also possibly facing a prison sentence of up to three months if found guilty.
The new rules come on the back of measures allowing parents to not send their children to school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Malta also faces a major problem as a result of its high rate of early school leavers, which at 16.7%, was the highest in the EU in 2020.
In fact, the minister said that that 20 students had left school early during the 2018/2019 scholastic year, with ten leaving the following year and five between 2020 and 2021.
According to Malta’s new employment policy, which was announced earlier this morning, roughly a third of Malta’s workforce had not received any formal education.
Figures also show that Malta has one of the highest rates of workers with a low level of education, with around 34% of workers having at best a lower secondary school level of education.
What do you make of this statistic?