The Ministry of Education denies authorising the removal of stipends for students reading O-level revision courses at higher secondary institutions.
It said that a circular sent on the 1st of October had been issued without any form of approval from the Ministry and that all students who currently receive stipend will continue to do so. The Ministry is investigating the issue in order to find out what led to the memo being issued.
This follows a report published earlier today by MaltaRightNow.Com, alleging that the Ministry is in conflict of the Government’s electoral promises – with specific reference to a proposed stipend for students who repeat a year of study. The report includes a letter from the Ministry of Education’s Maintenance Grants Section, saying that students reading O-level revision courses will not receiving stipend or smart card grants.
The maintenance grant board, formed by Legal Notice 372 of 2005, which the letter refers to is composed of a number of Ministry appointees, one of which is a member nominated by the students’ council [KSU] as per article 18(1)(g).
When contacted by InsiterOnline about the aforementioned Legal Notice, KSU Secretary General John Gabarretta indicated that Daniel Vella Fondacaro, KSU’s Education Coordinator, was their representative on the said board. He claimed that KSU was always kept in the dark about the issue and indicated that this could be due to Mr. Fondacaro’s prolonged absence since he was abroad for a long stretch of time. He concluded by emphasising that the issue was not given the proper attention that it was due and that the situation was a highly peculiar one that KSU will be looking into.
Moreover, student organisations Pulse and SDM reiterated their support of the stipend system.