Federation of language schools condemns sudden school closures
The Federation of English Language Teaching Organizations in Malta (FELTOM) reacted with shock and disbelief to the government’s decision to close English schools following a spike in COVID-19 cases among students foreigners.
The association condemned what it says is the government’s lack of leadership in regards to the thousands of clients already on the island who have been left without guidance.
âFELTOM and its member schools were unprepared and shocked by the government’s unexpected and rigid decision to close ELT schools. The sudden announcement of the closure of a specific section of the tourism market will be problematic not only for language schools but also for the entire tourism sector and other stakeholders, not to mention the large tourism market of the EU.
âThis sudden unilateral government decision sends the message that a cluster that is not the result of any violation of protocols by operators within their schools can lead to such disproportionate and extreme measures. Inevitably, this will have significant economic consequences for the entire tourism industry, its employees and stakeholders. ”
The organization said that while respecting the decision to restrict entry to Malta to fully vaccinated people, it felt the government had not allowed relevant stakeholders enough time to deal with this sudden policy reversal for all. tourism.
âWe believe this is a drastic reaction that the government has achieved without proper consultation with stakeholders of the consequences and implications for ELT schools, its employees, its students (present and future) and all stakeholders. Even with tourists fully vaccinated, we can expect similar clusters to occur at hotels and other tourist establishments and we ask to what extent the government will take similar steps to shut down these operators.
âOur member schools have, under the constant guidance and collaboration of public health, implemented and followed the rules and guidelines set out by the authorities. Rest assured that ELT schools have invested enormous resources in terms of time, money, manpower and materials to keep their schools operating within the parameters of these guidelines.
While schools have educated their employees and students on the importance of obeying measures, including mask wearing and social distancing in public, FELTOM complained that the government’s strengthening of these measures ” was barely visible, knowing that only the government has the power to apply such measures.
FELTOM argued that the closure of all ELT schools was not justified, especially as the government will now restrict entry to Malta to people fully vaccinated in accordance with certificates issued by the EU.
âSchools should be allowed to remain open like all other public institutions to these vaccinated visitors. Most schools have done this successfully in the last 15 months or so with no increase in Covid cases in Malta, âFELTOM said.