Five language schools have decided to close their doors for good after the virus pandemic shutdown proved to be too much of a burden, Times of Malta is informed.

Language schools are still restricted to online teaching as a result of the measures re-introduced in March, when the number of new infections had reached record highs.

After sounding warnings that the sector will be doomed if it is not allowed to reopen soon, the Federation of English Language Teaching Schools (FELTOM) has now confirmed five language schools have decided to close down.

A spokesperson for the federation said the closures reflect the gravity of the situation and the struggles faced by the schools.

FELTOM has refused to disclose details of the five schools in question.

In the absence of any direction from the authorities, FELTOM is declaring the sector will reopen on June 1

Times of Malta is also informed that schools have been trying to reach out to the authorities in an attempt to figure out what the government’s plans for the sector are.

Schools remain in the dark

However, despite meetings with government officials, they remain in the dark about their future, the spokesperson said.

“The industry has been respectful of and compliant with government measures from the start and has been lobbying with the government for financial aid for weeks to ensure that the businesses, which contribute so much to Malta’s economy, will survive,” he said.

“But to date, nothing has been communicated. Over the past year and a half, FELTOM has met with various government representatives and ministers to discuss strategies on a way forward however, nothing has been forthcoming.”

In the absence of any direction from the authorities in the coming weeks, the federation is now declaring the sector will reopen on June 1, in line with the government’s plan to start welcoming tourists back to the island on that day.

Last week, FELTOM said language schools have already received 10,711 bookings for the second and third quarter of the year though these risked being lost if the sector is not allowed to reopen soon.

The markets being targeted by FELTOM’s member schools include Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Colombia, Chile, Japan, Russia, South Korea and Turkey.

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