Gonzi: New EU funds will ensure further education growth
The Nationalist Party this morning shifted its focus to education as the electoral campaign entered its sixth week.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said education was the key to individual success and also vital for the country’s economic growth.
The PN was committed to creating a knowledge society.
Education was also key to keeping unemployment under control. He noted that in countries such as Greece, youth unemployment had now reached 60 per cent. The PN wanted the country to have sound public finances because that was the way to guarantee free education and access to it for all. The government managed to maintain it in the past five years, in contrast to other countries, where education tariffs had been increased as part of austerity measures.
And yet, Maltese workers were among the least taxed in the EU.
Dr Gonzi said the new €1.82 billion financial package which Malta had negotiated with the EU, along with national funds, would ensure there were sufficient funds for a PN government to continue its education programme.
A PN government intended to use the EU funds for job creation, investment in health and education across the board.
A new PN government would continue to build a new school every year – in Tal Handaq (girls), girls secondary Kirkop next year, boys' secondary Paola in 2015, girls' secondary Hamrun in 2016, and boys' secondary in Hamrun in 2017 followed by a school for boys in Pembroke, then Marsascala and Hamrun.
Work would continue on the new Mcast campus, more University facilities, new facilities for ITS and a new sixth form in Gozo.
Tablet computers would be provided to all schoolchildren, teachers and learning support assistants as a teaching and learning tool.
Dr Gonzi reiterated that stipends would be raised ‘pro rata’ with the cost of living index, he said.
Students following higher university courses would have national insurance contributions credited to them to ensure they had enough contributions for a full pension by the time they reached retirement age at 65, despite starting to work late.
He said the PN was also promising free childcare to parents who wished to continue to study.
The fund for investment by private schools would be increased and assistance would be given to parents in such schools.