Grupp Universitarji Għawdxin (GUG) expressed that they are pleased with many of the Budget 2021 proposals, but stated that one of their concerns surrounds how students are not allowed to work over 20 hours a week, in order to be eligible for stipend.
GUG outlined that some students find it financially difficult to keep up with all the expenses. This is because students are only allowed to work up to 20 hours a week, otherwise they’re not considered eligible for stipend.
GUG also expected some extra incentives which will help Gozitan students in their daily travel to Malta which will facilitate their continuation of studies in Malta.
However, the group is pleased with the following propositions:
- The long anticipated Fast Ferry service between Malta and Gozo was promised to start its operation as soon as all the difficulties are ironed out.
- The fourth Gozo Channel Ferry is set to become permanent after a call for offers is issued.
- Another round of €100 government vouchers will be re-distributed to all 16 year olds and above.
- Free Internet Access for a year to all students who continue their studies after the age of 16. In addition to this, the government also proposed that there will be an increase in stipends according to pro-rata.
- A regeneration works of Gozo’s main arterial roads was amongst the government’s proposals for the upcoming year.
- With regards to the Tunnel between Malta and Gozo, it is being said that after having completed the first phase (out of 3) of a pre-qualification questionnaire, the next step is that of finding a concessionaire who will be almost fully responsible for this project.
- A new sports complex for the University of Malta. Furthermore, more facilities will also be built at MCAST.
- Another fruitful enterprise which is being put forward by the government is that of transforming Villa Lauri, located in Birkirkara, into an accommodation for students.
- Works on the Gozo Aquatic Centre are planned to continue in the coming months.
- The government is generating new promising opportunities with the introduction of the second fibre optic cable, the Innovation Hub in Xewkija, and also the Astronomical Observatory which is being planned in Nadur.
- Employment Schemes benefitting Gozitan workers will be improved and enhanced. These include the Employment Refund Scheme, the Teleworking Scheme and the MICE Scheme, amongst others.
- Agricultural and Fishery sectors are also promised various incentives which will in turn enrich these sectors.