Robert Abela’s pledge to scrap homework is a “populist measure”, Opposition leader Bernard Grech said on Monday.
Fielding questions during a press conference about education, Grech quipped that the Prime Minister had clearly failed to do his own homework.
The PN leader said the homework issue should be looked at in a holistic manner, with the aim of promoting critical thinking and reducing parroting by students.
Grech, whose wife is a teacher, said he does not agree with removing educators’ abilities to analyse how much their students have learnt.
“We need holistic reforms, not just a populist measure. Let us be mature and serious,” the PN leader said.
He encouraged everyone to get out and vote on March 26 to help implement the PN’s vision.
“If you want a change, you have to do your part. Pick up your vote, and place your faith in our vision”, Grech urged.
Abela made a similar pitch to Labour votes during a rally on Sunday, warning that the PN opposition will count abstentions as a vote in their favour.
Questioned about social distancing rules during the PN’s own Sunday rally, Grech said everyone must obey COVID-19 rules.
He said however that those rules must also make sense, particularly in light of Malta having reached herd immunity.
Grech accused the prime minister of riding roughshod over people’s rights in this regard.
“People will no longer accept this. People have lost trust in what Abela is telling them”, Grech said.
He also questioned what sense it made for student and teachers being forced to wear masks.
On the PN’s education proposals, Grech said a PN government will increase the annual education budget in line with the economy’s growth.
Grech said this result in a radical change to the way education is funded by linking it to GDP growth.
Grech declined to go into specifics about the precise mechanics of the change, but assured it would not lead to a reduction in educators’ pay were the economy to shrink.
The PN leader gave a rundown of the party’s main education pledges, including:
- Opening a specialised secondary school every year.
- Kicking off an apprenticeship excellence programme in collaboration with company owners who will receive 200% of their investment in fiscal credits.
- Cover up to 35% of the salary of successful apprentices.
- Tax breaks on extra-curricular activities and an additional €300 grant to fund youth’s sports, performing arts, arts, and cultural activities after school hours.
- 25% increase of students' maintenance grants.
- An additional 25% increase for those who do voluntary work.
- €500 grant to youths aged between 16 and 21 to cover expenses of travel that is linked to sports or cultural events.