Public consultation on a €193 million EU funding scheme
The government is seeking the public’s opinion on €193 million of EU funds that will be invested over seven years in social initiatives, notably in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi on Monday launched a public consultation on the allocation of funds through the European Social Fund Plus programme.
The financial framework, which runs from 2021 to 2027, will see Malta allocate €193 million to invest in social initiatives to improve and adapt services to new and emerging needs.
Zrinzo Azzopardi said the government was seeking to strengthen five key priorities, namely improving employability and labor market resilience, promoting active inclusion for all, quality and inclusive education and the improvement of lifelong learning, the fight against material deprivation and technical assistance.
“EU resources will be mobilized to target the needs of vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalized groups, in particular children, people at risk of poverty, exclusion and material deprivation, people with disabilities, as well as young people and foreign nationals, in order to foster inclusion and integration,” he said.
He said the funds will also be used to promote new employment opportunities and reduce the gender pay gap.
Extend the device by one tablet per child
Among other things, the funds will be used to expand the One Tablet Per Child program to secondary school students, with more details on the program expected to launch soon.
Launched in 2016, the program has seen the distribution of some 15,000 tablets to Year 4 students in public, faith-based and independent schools, at a cost of €12 million. Eighty percent of the costs were financed by the European Social Fund.
However, a 2019 National Audit Office study found that tablets were underused in the classroom, with less than one in five children saying they use tablets daily at school.
The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has increased the popularity of tablets exponentially in 2020 as many classrooms have shifted to online teaching.
The public consultation document can be viewed online at EU Malta Funds website.
People can send their comments on the document until August 30 to [email protected]
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