classroom

As Malta began to ease its restrictions against the spread of COVID-19 today with the gradual reopening of schools through the week, one group of schools has been left out of the list: the English Language Teaching (ELT) industry.

In an interview with the Malta Independent, designate CEO at the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations Malta (FELTOM), Caroline Tissot, lamented that Government’s decision to keep ELT schools closed was “unexpected”, and “has brought the industry to its knees”.

ELT schools are currently delivering lessons online but continue to incur day-to-day running costs that are putting them in a state of financial crisis, she explained, even with the support of the COVID wage supplement.

Ms Tissot said that schools continue to accumulate costs and face uncertainty related to their unknown re-opening, which may lead some to close shop altogether. Additionally, the sense of insecurity is making employees uneasy, “resulting in a very real possibility of staff members leaving the industry in search of a more stable working environment,” she said.

Following the Ministry for Tourism’s recently-announced Tourism Recovery Plan for this summer, Ms Tissot hopes Malta’s ELT industry will begin to recover, having already seen increased interest in bookings since its announcement.

Recent statistics on the industry published by the National Statistics Office show an 80.3 per cent drop in foreign students coming to Malta in 2020 compared to 2019, with a total of 16,491 students compared to 83,610 students the previous year.

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