Malta’s education commissioner has come out in defence of a group of non-EU children who are being forced to miss school because of bureaucratic issues concerning their residence permits. 

In a brief statement issued on Monday morning, education commissioner Charles Caruana Carabez said that the government was duty-bound to intervene immediately. 

“No law should deprive humanity of education, because that spawns untold harm. In fact, any law that is designed to do so is ipso facto illegal,” he said. 

“The government is to immediately intervene to redress this wrong,” the education commissioner added. 

The education commissioner operates from within the Office of the Ombudsman. 

Times of Malta revealed on Sunday that at least 12 children have been forced to miss the entire first term of the current scholastic year because Identity Malta is refusing to accept their residence permit applications. 

The agency says that the families do not make enough money to satisfy eligibility criteria. 

According to local regulations, non-EU children can only be enrolled in school if their parents present a ‘blue paper’ receipt when applying. The paper is given to parents once their children's residence permit application is received by Identity Malta. 

Among the families caught in the bureaucratic wrangling with Identity Malta is a group whose applications are not being accepted at all by the agency. The families are therefore not receiving a ‘blue paper’ receipt and have been unable to enrol their children in school. 

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