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