Following a meeting with government yesterday morning, FELTOM schools still eagerly await a response from government with respect to the outcome of the meeting.
While the abrupt, forced closure of the sector has set the Language Schools into complete panic and disarray, FELTOM insists that it is the jobs of the approximate 2000 direct employees that must take priority without delay.
In its meeting yesterday, FELTOM outlined a list of suggestions on how to work with government to deal with the crisis – namely;
Ensuring that all staff and students are protected against further contamination and the spread of the virus throughout the student body and the rest of the community.
Allowing for vaccinated adult students to continue to learn face to face without further postponement.
Outline a rescue package to protect the 2000 jobs that depend on this industry in order to survive.
Moreover, FELTOM want to see how best to work with government to turn what could be a reputational disaster into an image enhancer for not only the sector but for our tourist industry and the island as a whole.
Following what FELTOM feels is “the scapegoating” of the language school industry, its members now eagerly await a reply from government who till yesterday has not as yet given any concrete guarantees towards a reversal of what has been a complete disaster.
After opening their doors last June, member schools who have worked tirelessly to handle the larger than expected numbers are now facing the following realities:
– 15,000 booking cancellations since the announcement was made last Friday.
– Loss in revenue as a consequence, with Eur36 million on the books of it members.
– Job losses directly and indirectly linked to the industry.
– Complete liquidation of companies and the decimation of a 58-year-old industry.
– Irreparable damage to Malta’s international reputation.
– Discrimination towards one sector of the tourism economy with a biased decision.
Reputational damage for Malta and it’s tourist industry.
After being contacted yesterday for comment, and since schools feel completely lost and abandoned by this governmental decision, one particularly upset member said:
“The only thing we are getting is a wait and see attitude. But at what cost? The more time passes, the more all this does not make sense. To make matters more confusing, Malta has now just decided to start welcoming unvaccinated people, albeit with a 14-day quarantine period and yet, the country continues to discriminate against adult vaccinated English language learners who are not being allowed into their schools – those currently on the island, and those still due to arrive. All this is just surreal, especially given that all schools, by Government’s own admission, have been labelled fully-compliant with the health protocols as imposed by Government prior to schools being allowed to reopen.”
Language Schools Unfairly Singled-Out
After following all guidelines and protocols issued by government, FELTOM feels the language schools have ended up being unfairly singled out because of a unilateral decision taken by the highest authorities on how the tourist industry was opened last June.
Moreover, FELTOM and its member organizations now continue to wait for the replies to the questions and the solutions put forward.