The Education Ministry is planning to introduce more prefabricated classrooms in various State schools, as the programme to build new facilities continues to face delays, Times of Malta is informed.
Following the introduction of prefabricated classrooms at St Paul’s Bay primary and Żejtun’s secondary schools, more mobile homes are planned to be transformed into classrooms this year at Rabat’s primary and Mrieħel’s secondary schools.
Members of the administration in both schools confirmed that scores of students are expected to be taught in prefabricated classrooms in the coming months as the facilities inside government schools cannot cope with demand.
“The school population has increased drastically in the past years and we need more space. Since building new facilities will take very long, the ministry seems to have found a solution in mobile classrooms,” a teacher at the Rabat school said.
When contacted, both the Education Ministry and the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools, the government agency responsible for the school building programme, remained tight-lipped.
However, tenders issued by the government during the summer months point towards at least two schools joining the list of educational facilities with temporary classrooms.
The tenders, which are at evaluation stage, indicate that a number of mobile classrooms will be housed in the precincts of Rabat Primary A, part of the St Nicholas College and at the Mrieħel secondary school, which forms part of St Theresa College.
The mobile facilities will be placed in open spaces at the schools, limiting the amount of open spaces normally used by students during breaks.
Two offers for the latest installation of prefabricated classrooms were received by the department of contracts, from United Equipment Ltd and Hallmann Vella Ltd. The offer price varies between €367,000 and €616,000.
Last year, the government introduced more prefabricated classrooms, with the most stressed school being the St Paul’s Bay primary.
The school is under intense pressure as the population around St Paul’s Bay has grown by more than 50 per cent in the last decade, reaching 30,000 by the end of last year.
A new school in Qawra, which was due to open its doors three years ago, is still under construction.
The Education Ministry had said it did not intend to place more students in prefabricated classrooms at St Paul’s primary, but it is not yet known whether students from the locality will have to start attending schools in nearby towns and villages due to the lack of facilities.
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo had played down criticism, describing the prefabricated classrooms as better than some classrooms in existing schools.