The State’s summer school programme are still set to commence on July 1, Education Minister Owen Bonnici confirmed on Tuesday, admitting however the number of applications have decrease significantly. 

Fielding journalists’ questions during an online press briefing, Bonnici reaffirmed the government’s summer school programme would start on July 1, as planned prior to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Malta’s schools and universities have been shut since mid-March, days after the island registered its first COVID-19 cases. National exams have also been postponed to September. 

Despite this, plans for summer school to re-open in July have not been impacted, though details on the measures that will be taken to ensure both students and educators are safe have yet to be unveiled. 

Bonnici said he will be announcing these details closer to the date when the school gates are set to re-open. 

According to the minister, however, the number of students that have signed up for the summer programme has gone down significantly when compared to previous years. 

Around this time last year, some 10,000 students had been enrolled in the programme. This year, only 3,000 applications have been received so far. 

Bonnici said that the decrease in numbers will not impact the plans and those who wish to attend summer school will be able to do so. 

The education authorities, he pointed out, are working closely with their counterparts in health in order to ensure everybody’s safety. 

Funds for university research

Earlier, Bonnici announced the government would be handing the University of Malta funds to increase the number of research projects it conducts.

A total of 11 new projects will be receiving around €55,000 each. 

Rector Alfred Vella said that some studies related to COVID-19 are underway. These, however, do not involve research into a possible vaccine, he said. 

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