Skolasajf applications this year have gone down by half to around 5,500, but the government will forge ahead with preparations pending the final decision by the health authorities in the coming weeks.

Education Minister Owen Bonnici divulged the figure in parliament on Tuesday when speaking about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the educational sector following the closure of schools two months ago.

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While noting that educational authorities, schools and teachers were managing to mitigate the situation through various forms of online teaching, he said preparations for Skolasajf, which runs between July and September, were going ahead as if it was business as usual.

“This approach is being taken so that in the eventuality that the health authorities give us the go-ahead we would be prepared,” the education minister said.

While pointing out that no final decision had yet been taken, Bonnici said that there could also be a scenario whereby Skolasajf would open under certain restrictions to ensure social distancing. He added that the ministry was adhering to World Health Organisation best practices and guidelines.

Bonnici said that around 11,000 applications are normally submitted. This year the number had gone down to 5,500.

“If possible, we are bound to provide this service within the existing circumstances in full respect of public health safeguards ,” he told parliament.

However, there was no decline in the number of teachers who applied for this summer job, the minister said.

Bonnici said a final decision would be taken in due course, on the strength of a risk assessment by the health authorities.

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