Improved salaries for teachers, fully airconditioned classrooms and solar panels on schools are among the topmost pledges by a new Nationalist government, PN leader Bernard Grech said on Saturday.

"The Labour government sees teachers like child-minders, seeing them only as a means to allow parents to go out to work. But we see them as educators who are forming the hearts and minds of our children,” Grech said during a question and answer session in Attard.

He said Malta needs to make a generational leap in how educators are estimated by society, he said, adding that the Nationalist Party has always invested in education and reaped results for the country, through its only natural resource: human potential.

Grech said the starting salary of educators should be better, their salaries should increase more regularly, and these should continue increasing for a longer period of time. He said Malta was currently struggling to attract enough teachers to the profession as well as struggling to retain them. Malta was also losing its most experienced teachers to other professions.

“We need to incentivise all levels of the profession to stay on, and also to constantly improve their own skills. We will find ways of ensuring that teachers who invest in their own education and up-skilling will also be better rewarded.”

Grech said a Nationalist government will also ensure that increases to teacher salaries in the public sector will also be carried out in Church schools and private schools, through a combination of direct assistance and tax credits, as is already done today.

A Nationalist government would also invest in school infrastructure to adapt to rising temperatures and environmental targets. Schools must become more energy-efficient, rooftops should be used for solar panels, and classrooms should be air-conditioned, allowing schools to also be utilised comfortably during summer for various community needs, including summer schools. 

Grech also said all students need to be better equipped with internet and technology, and a Nationalist government would ensure that schoolchildren in need will continue to get free internet access as they were given during the pandemic, to ensure nobody gets left behind. Tablets will also be provided in secondary schools.

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