Only vulnerable children should be exempt from attending school says Commissioner for Children

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Office of the Commissioner for Children said that the need for children to attend school remains compulsory as stipulated by law and provides a guarantee to their right to education.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Office of the Commissioner for Children stressed that whilst it is also important to protect those children who may be vulnerable in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office strongly suggests that only such children should be exempt from physically attending school on a case-by-case basis following professional advice and confirmation.

The Office is deeply concerned that if school attendance does not remain compulsory, children in living in vulnerable situations, particularly those who were regularly absent from school prior to the pandemic, will continue to fall through the net.

It was noted how attendance for online schooling was already quite poor between March and June.

The Office of the Commissioner for Children mentioned how school attendance is even more so crucial when research shows that children with a stronger sense of school belonging do better at school and have higher life satisfaction as outlined by the UNCEF Innocenti Report Card 16 Worlds of Influence, Understanding What Shapes Child Well-being in Rich Countries’. According to this study, Malta ranked low overall with regards to life satisfaction.

For this reason, the Office urged the Ministry for Education to put in place the necessary measures to ensure children’s wellbeing