Young Leaders Express Their Hopes For Tonight's Budget
And they're ready for more investment in research and informal learning!
With speculations about tonight's big budget talks flying around all week, there's lots of talk about predicted outcomes and their effect on everyone's daily life. But what about their effect on the young people who are going to be around to feel the consequences (positive or negative) for much longer?
We spoke to a few young people working in youth organisations to get a feel for what today and tomorrow's leaders are hoping to hear tonight!
KNŻ - Vice-President
"Personally, what I feel is important is that funding towards the youth sector will not be cut, particularly after so much campaigning from youth sports associations (for example the futsal association) saying they have nowhere to play or train... We should be proud of our young people dedicating their time to such initiatives, and I'm hoping to hear that more money will be spent in youth participation and youth sport."
"Also, the down syndrome association expressed to [KNŻ] that a youth club which would allow young people with special needs to meet up with other young people has been promised for some time now, so it would also be fab to hear that there's funding going towards that."
Pulse - President
"First and foremost as pledged by the present government we are expecting once again to see a rise in stipends pro-rata with the cost of living adjustment. Secondly, as a social democratic student organisation we are expecting maybe an increase or specific allowances to those students that both stipend and supplimentary grant are not enough."
"We've been stressing on the need for more expenditure on research and innovation and we're sincerely hoping that the government invests more in this area as this is crucial for the standards of our education institutions. We will also be looking to see what the government has taken on board when from when we presented the Prime Minister and Minister for Education the 'Change the System - The Report' which included some major changes in our education system."
"Finally, we are expecting something tangible aimed at reducing traffic and road problems. We have bad infrastructure, and something needs to be done. Tougher penalties aimed at those consuming high level of alcohol when driving will hopefully be spoken about, and we'd love to get an indication of when will the work on underground car park at University will be completed."
SDM - President
"We expect this budget to deal with sustainable development and the environment in educational systems by injecting an increase in investment in educational institutions."
"Research and Innovation is definitely a field which was, until now, not a priority of this government when it comes to spending, and we're hoping that this will change with tonight's budget talks."
JEF Malta - President
"First off, being a student myself and understanding the flawed system we currently have in the Maltese islands, I’d really like to hear some sort of proposal regarding an education reform. Informal learning is definitely not focused on in Malta, so student organisation accreditation or some sort of incentive for students to take up extra-curricular activities would be of great benefit to the educational sector."
"Apart from this, more money should be allocated to Research and Development as currently, even though the economy is booming, there are very few new industries. Therefore, in order to be competitive within the EU and outside, R&D should be funded further. This would also stop young researchers from moving abroad due to lack of funding, keeping these young professionals within the country."
"Like many, I’m expecting to hear some sort of concrete solution to the traffic problem we are currently facing. This issue is observed by most as being one of the most fundamental things to be tackled within the budget, just like last year, however last year’s budget left much to be desired in this sector."
Paul Caruana Turner
Junior Chamber of Advocates - Academic Officer
"I am expecting to see large increases in the tax on tobacco products, which I definitely support as these directly contribute to the extreme stress under which our healthcare system currently operates."
"I would also like to see the introduction of taxes on fast food and sugary foods as these are equally burdensome to the economy (though I'm not holding my breath on that one). It would also be great to see any measures to ensure the current economic prosperity is enjoyed by all."
AEGEE-Valletta - Secretary General
"Over these past few years, governments have found that investing money in the education (including extra-curricular activities) has reaped positive outcomes. I'm hoping that this year's budget won't be any different."
"This year in particular, a greater stand needs to be taken on transport - encouraging students to use public transport, facilitating the roads for bicycles and incentivizing car pooling. I would also like see some of KSU's proposals (mentioned below) put in action such as bridging the gap between Gozitan students and the UOM and encouraging a more holistic education."
Kunsill Studenti Universitarji
Reading through their Pre-Budget Document, KSU highlights the need for holistic education, a green conscience and investment in students' wellbeing.
They focus on the need for better life-long learning programs, and more investment in research and development. They're also asking for funds to be allocated allowing students in Health Scientists to attend clinical placements.
Their focus on transport and greed education includes requests for continued efforts in encouraging motorcycle use, while investing in road safety. They're also hoping to see more initiatives for companies to promote carpooling. They also hope to see more indigenous vegetation in local gardens, allowing for a reduction in water consumption.
Amongst various other suggestions they also hope to see Gozitans given an equal internet connection strength to Malta's, and more funding placed in research and education on sexual health from a holistic perspective.
KSU - President
"Building on KSU's Pre-Budget Document (mentioned above) we're really hoping to see an increase in research funding, and we'd also like to see the two-wheel fund that we proposed included in this year's budget."
"We're also very scared about the continual lack of sustainable planning in our developments."