Commissioner for Children calls for investment in remote learning

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Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Long-term investment in remote learning is needed for those students who are not able to attend school, the Commissioner for Children said on Thursday. It highlighted that students should be able to connect with their classroom live so as to engage as much as possible.

Reacting a parliamentary question on school attendance, the Officer of the Commissioner for Children reiterated its concerns on absenteeism as it called on all the relevant authorities to ensure that all children are guaranteed their right to education.

Schools reopened by mid-October after they were abruptly closed down when the first cases of coronavirus were registered in Malta. At the reopening, the commissioner had stressed on the need for school attendance to remain compulsory and only children who are vulnerable to be exempt from school.

School absenteeism in Malta shot up from around 10% to around a quarter of students as schools reopened in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Education Minister Owen Bonnici told Parliament.

The minister said that around half of this increase was due to children who were either vulnerable or who lived with vulnerable people. This contrasts with what the Commissioner for Children said: “The statistics presented show that only half of those not attending school are not attending due to being vulnerable.”

The office of the Commissioner for Children expressed its concern about children who are not receiving any form of education. It warned that absenteeism existed prior to the pandemic and already proved many challenges to reach children who are not attending compulsory school despite having the necessary measures in place.

Attendance is no longer obligatory due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Commissioner for Children warning that a number of children are falling through the gaps.

“Many health protocols have been put in place in schools therefore, parents or carers should prioritise school attendance over other activities such as going to supermarkets and attending other activities.”

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