Attendance in state schools is at 75%, despite concerns that COVID-19 fears would keep many away, information given in parliament shows.

Education Minister Owen Bonnici gaves the figure during an adjournment speech when have spoke on the reopening of schools following the six-month closure due to the pandemic.

He said that when compared to pre-pandemic times the increase in absenteeism was of 15 per cent, as before the attendance rate was around 90 per cent. Almost half of the parents who decided against sending their children to schools had done so on medical grounds due to particular conditions which made the children vulnerable.

The education minister said the high attendance level vindicated the government’s decision to insist on the re-opening of schools, despite the fierce objections from unions.

“It seems that the Malta Union of Teachers and the UPE Union of Professional Educators are in a tussle on who takes the most militant approach, in a bid to attract the highest number of members,” Bonnici remarked.

However, he said MUT was taking a more responsible approach than UPE, who, he pointed out, is not the recognised union in the education sector.

Bonnici expressed his disappointment that unions were objecting to the streaming of lessons live on the internet for the benefit of students who cannot be physically present in class.

To compensate for this, the ministry has issued a call for those teachers interested to record lessons, which will be made available on teleskola.mt.  

So far there are more than 400 lessons were available online, with another three hundred being vetted for immediate update.  The number of uploaded lessons is expected to increase rapidly in the coming weeks.

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