Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Years behind schedule, the Qawra Primary School has finally been inaugurated at the conclusion of a €13 million project overseen by the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools.
Plans to build the school came about to relieve overcrowding at the St Paul’s Bay Primary School, which had been built before the locality experienced a population explosion, becoming Malta’s most populous locality in the process.
It was originally set to be built in a different part of Qawra, an ODZ plot of land right next to the Salini Park. But plans changed, and the school was instead built in an undeveloped – but within scheme – plot of land at the centre of Qawra.
The FTS’ 2015 annual report stated that the school should be completed by 2017, but this deadline proved far from achievable. By 2018, the foundation was hoping to open the school in time for the 2019/2020 scholastic year, and blamed complications surrounding the tendering process for the delays.
The project was also delayed by the tragic death of a 23-year-old Malian construction worker, with the ensuing magisterial inquiry forcing the temporary closure of the construction site.
The school is built on four floors, and includes 39 classrooms, vocational learning labs, a childcare centre and a kindergarten. It also includes other facilities, including a large hall and parking, which are also intended for use by the community.
It will have a capacity of around 500-650 students, and will complement, rather than replace, the primary school in St Paul’s Bay.
The project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Robert Abela and Education Minister Owen Bonnici, with the latter highlighting ongoing school construction projects in Victoria and Msida, as well as the renovation of existing schools including the Żejtun secondary school, on which work is nearing completion.
The school’s opening was welcomed by the Nationalist Party, but its education spokesman Clyde Puli, perhaps predictably, highlighted that it had been delayed. He pointed out that the Msida and Victoria schools had long been promised, and that the Marsascala school opened last year had similarly been overdue.