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Tablets ‘just tools’

Labour leader Joseph Muscat gestures during an open-air interview in Qrendi last night. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Labour leader Joseph Muscat gestures during an open-air interview in Qrendi last night. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Labour Party education proposals went beyond the “technological giveaway” on offer by the Nationalist Party and would be geared towards maximising literacy, party leader Joseph Muscat said yesterday.

PL education proposals had yet to be unveiled, Dr Muscat said, but would involve concerted investment in libraries, both local and national, and more decision-making power given to local teachers and school heads.

“Tablets are just a tool – they must be put to good use. There are many issues which must be taken into account, not least problems highlighted by the Malta Union of Teachers, which is why we want to introduce them incrementally,” he said.

The MUT had warned that introducing tablets would involve a learning curve and voiced concern over the maintenance of the tablets.

Speaking in Qrendi during an open-air interview on One TV, Dr Muscat hammered home his anti-corruption message. “Politicians who have nothing to hide should welcome increased scrutiny. It is those who don’t fight corruption who are corrupt,” he said.

Gone were the days when democracy worked in five-year cycles, with citizens blindly following their elected representatives in the periods in between, Dr Muscat said.

“Six, eight or 10 years ago, that might have worked. But not now. People are more informed, more assertive and more willing to stand up for their rights than ever before. And the Government must adapt to this,” he said, using the online protest movement that helped cripple the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement as a case in point.

Dr Muscat also spoke about the PL’s proposals for part-time workers and small business owners. The proposals, unveiled yesterday morning (see separate story on page 7) would see part-time workers pay the lower 15 per cent tax rate on their first €10,000 in earnings rather than the current €7,000 threshold.

New start-ups would not pay tax on the first €8,000 they made over their first four years of business, and women over 35 would pay no tax on the first €2,000 they made, he said.

“It may look like we’re reducing our tax revenue, but we’re making it worth people’s while to start working or open a business. And that will open up new revenue streams,” Dr Muscat argued.

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