The Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations (FELTOM) has expressed its disappointment that the reopening of English language schools has been further delayed, saying that “clear direction” is necessary for the implementation of “meaningful survival plans”.
In a statement issued over the weekend, FELTOM drew attention to the detrimental impact the delay is having on the business aspect of schools, and said it hoped that the Government would be forthcoming with a “vision of the way forward”.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that schools from kindergarten to secondary-school level would be reopening this week on a staggered basis, but gave no indication as to when English as a Foreign Language (EFL) schools would be allowed to reopen.
English schools were closed in March, along with most other non-essential establishments. At the time, FELTOM had welcomed the move in light of the “concerning” spike in COVID-19 infections.
However, the delay in reopening has driven the Federation to issue a distress signal, where it noted that the “EFL industry is one of the most terribly hit industries in our country which has incurred terrible financial losses and support for schools is imperative if this industry is to survive.”
In February, the Federation revealed the extent of the crisis in the sector, with some schools only having one or two students while others sought to diversify their business by turning to the local market.
FELTOM highlighted the significant contribution of the English Language Teaching (ELT) sector to the Maltese economy, saying that this has been evident over the years, with over €200 million spent locally by ELT students in 2019 alone.
It emphasised that losing this globally competitive sector would be highly detrimental to the Maltese economy.
“The further extension of the second closure of schools has decimated their remaining income,” said the Federation, “while liabilities for staff expenses, maintenance of buildings and accommodation rentals remain.”
“FELTOM anticipates that, following various consultation meetings, the Government is in a position to offer the financial support that the industry desperately needs to survive.”
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