PN laments lack of school trans­port agree­ment; calls process one of ‘con­fu­sion’ and ‘con­ceal­ment’

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

With just three weeks left for the be­gin­ning of the new scholas­tic year, the govern­ment has not yet put mea­sures in place to ful­fil its prom­ise of free school trans­port, the Na­tion­al­ist Party (PN) has said.

It said in a state­ment yes­ter­day that free school trans­port for all stu­dents was a sys­tem promised both by the PN and the Labour Party in their most re­cent elec­toral man­i­festos, and that Min­is­ter for Fi­nance Ed­ward Sci­cluna had also promised it dur­ing his an­nual bud­get speech last Oc­to­ber.

How­ever, nearly a year later, the govern­ment is still drag­ging its feet on the mat­ter, to the point that Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Mus­cat is now promis­ing that what­ever par­ents pay for school trans­port will be re­funded by the govern­ment, the state­ment goes on.

Yes­ter­day, The Malta In­de­pen­dent re­ported that par­ents were to be re­funded school trans­port fees, but that there was no clear in­di­ca­tion as to when this re­fund would take place.

Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion and Em­ploy­ment Evarist Bar­tolo also told this news­room that ne­go­ti­a­tions on this mea­sure were in their ‘fi­nal stages’, stress­ing the com­plex­ity in ef­fi­ciently im­ple­ment­ing the ser­vice to non-state schools.

The main Op­po­si­tion party says that par­ents, school ad­min­is­tra­tors and trans­port op­er­a­tors have all said in the open that they have been left in the dark by the govern­ment. This lack of con­sul­ta­tion and plan­ning so close to the new scholas­tic year means that op­er­a­tors can­not make their own plans, the party adds. This, it says, is be­cause the govern­ment is of­fer­ing only con­fu­sion and con­ceal­ment in­stead of trans­parency.

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