The number of cancellations by English language students increased from 4,000 on March 5 to 20,000 on March 16, according to a study conducted by Deloitte.

This was equivalent to 7,500 cancellations per week across all the schools, an increase of 400%, FELTOM, the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations in Malta said in a statement on Friday.

It said it backed the position taken by the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association and the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry who argue that the measures announced by the government will do little to save jobs.

The English language teaching sector, it said, was the first to start feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was confirmed by another Deloitte survey in the first week of March which described the situation as “the perfect storm” for all English language teaching organisations.

The financial impact of the cancellations to date was expected to lead to an estimated loss in contribution of €8.8 million and an estimated financial loss to the economy of €23.7 million.

“Amidst this scenario, our prime concern is the staff and the schools who are the pillars of Malta’s successful and thriving ELT sector, a sector that has always been an important contributor to Malta’s tourism industry and the economy at large,” says FELTOM.

It appealed to banks to be more responsive to their clients’ communications especially in light of the fact that government’s measures were not official and there had been no instructions or legal notices on how they could be taken advantage of. 

“ELT schools, just like most other sectors are now in very dire straits and people are being put on forced leave. We need proper and serious measures to safeguard all employees on whose expertise, this successful sector has been built,” it said.

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