Lack of first aiders in state schools ‘not ideal sit­u­a­tion’ – Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Joanna Demarco

The ideal sit­u­a­tion would be to have first aiders in every school, ac­cord­ing to Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Evarist Bar­tolo.

Speak­ing to The Malta In­de­pen­dent, Min­is­ter Bar­tolo ex­pressed his con­cern re­gard­ing the lack of first aiders in state schools schools, ex­plain­ing that many teach­ers and work­ers would not be in­ter­ested in train­ing in First Aid be­cause there is no law to pro­tect them if some­thing goes wrong.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics tabled in Par­lia­ment last week, 18 state schools around Malta and Gozo do not have any first aiders.

“We would like to have first aiders ev­ery­where and we have of­fered pro­fes­sional train­ing for first aiders in all schools, but we can­not oblige peo­ple or make them do it,” said the Min­is­ter.

“I am told that peo­ple do not be­come first aiders, not be­cause they do not want to help oth­ers, but be­cause ap­par­ently, if you are a first aider in Malta, legally you are not cov­ered if some­thing goes wrong.

“I think now we will move to have such a law,” he said. “At schools where chil­dren have con­di­tions such as nut al­ler­gies, then there will be a first aider, but ideally, there should be a first aider in every school. What we are do­ing is try­ing to train more teach­ers, and also to train stu­dents.”

When asked what is be­ing done to en­cour­age teach­ers to train in first aid the Min­is­ter said he vis­its schools on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and schools have been pro­vided with equip­ment, such as that to help peo­ple in car­diac arrests, “mak­ing sure that there are also peo­ple to op­er­ate the equip­ment”.

Ac­cord­ing to the ta­ble pre­sented in Par­lia­ment last week, the state schools which do not have First Aiders are: Gha­jn­sielem Pri­mary, Qala Pri­mary, San­nat Pri­mary & San­nat Spe­cial Unit, Xaghra Pri­mary, Mosta Pri­mary B, Dun Man­wel At­tard Re­source Cen­tre, the Learn­ing Sup­port Cen­tre in St Ven­era, Verdala Sec­ondary School (SMC), Cospicua Mid­dle School, Cospicua Pri­mary, Cospicua Learn­ing Sup­port Cen­tre, For­tini Learn­ing Sup­port Cen­tre, Han­daq Sec­ondary School, Zeb­bug Pri­mary, St Ju­lians Pri­mary, Giovanni Curmi Higher Sec­ondary, the Na­tional Sports School and ALP Paola. It also emerged, from the PQ, that ten in­de­pen­dent schools between them have more first aiders than 109 state schools put to­gether.

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