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Maltese EFL “on its knees”

The Maltese government has ordered Malta’s English language sector to remain closed while the national schools have reopened. This “unexpected decision” has “brought the industry to its knees”, according to Caroline Tissot, CEO designate of FELTOM, Malta’s Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations.

Malta’s language schools have switched to online teaching during COVID, but the costs of doing this, despite government help with funding rent, electricity and staff wages, along with day-to-day running costs, are mounting.

“This, coupled with a no-end-in-sight scenario as to when the schools may reopen, may even lead to school closures,” Tissot told the Malta Independent. She also expressed concern that the continuing uncertainty could lead to teaching staff looking to leave the profession.

Ironically, a government decision to force language schools to reopen in July last year, a move opposed by the schools, led to a small number of Covid clusters, perhaps one reason behind the government’s decision to keep them shut for now.

Overall EFL enrolment on the islands fell 80.4% in 2020, according to a recent report by the Office for National Statistics. The sector is among those set to benefit from the 20-million Euro Tourism Recovery Plan announced by the government at the end of March.

Image courtesy of Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash
Melanie Butler
Melanie Butler
Melanie started teaching EFL in Iran in 1975. She worked for the BBC World Service, Pearson/Longman and MET magazine before taking over at the Gazette in 1987 and also launching Study Travel magazine. Educated in ten schools in seven countries, she speaks fluent French and Spanish and rather rusty Italian.
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