The numbers speak for themselves

The numbers are simply overwhelming and they put an even greater responsibility on myself, my colleagues and the rest of government to make sure these huge resources at our disposal are spent wisely and efficiently and deliver value for the group that is putting up all this money in in the first place – taxpayers

Anything that doubles in value over seven years is a worthwhile investment. When you double a country’s GDP, the core value of a nation, over seven years it is nothing short of impressive.

As Minister for Education and Employment, I sit in the respective council in Brussels with other ministers. They are envious of the opportunity being afforded to me as minister, because nowhere else has the education budget more than doubled in just under seven years. Many ministers have faced reductions in their budgets; the few ones doing well have seen incremental increases.

The figures speak for themselves.

The recurrent budget for education and employment in 2012 was 360 million euros while the capital budget stood at 40 million euros, a total of 400 million. Budget 2020 presents a recurrent budget of 650 million euros and a capital budget of 215 million euros, a total of 865 million euros for education and employment. The numbers are simply overwhelming and they put an even greater responsibility on myself, my colleagues and the rest of government to make sure these huge resources at our disposal are spent wisely and efficiently and deliver value for the group that is putting up all this money in in the first place – taxpayers.

The University of Malta, under a Labour Government, has seen its budget increased from 50 million euros to 83 million euros and MCAST from 15 million euros to 37 million euros.

Over the past eight years we have spent more than 112 million euros on school infrastructure through FTS, despite the fact that the previous PN government left an 80 million euro pending bill.

When the Nationalist Party talks about how it built a new school every year, it’s important to remember that a Labour Government is actually paying for it. It’s nice and dandy to place an order, it’s another thing to actually pay for it.

The assistance that Government provides to Church Schools has also increased considerably. It has risen from 45.2 million euros in 2012 to 95 million euros in the 2020 budget.

For the first time this year we have a strong budget for security in schools. This initiative comes after consulting stakeholders, especially teachers.

Over three years we will be investing 6 million euros in security in schools, starting from 2020 with 1.2 million euros.

This investment varies from reception areas to technological equipment.

Since 2015 we have invested a total of 1.7 million euros in purchasing 288,000 books. This is a different budget from public libraries, with the books specifically for schools. This works out at an average of 15,000 euros per school, which basically means refreshing the whole library of every school.

These investments have only been possible because our economy has grown steadily. Sometimes progress brings problems, which people rightly highlight, but it also means this – more books in schools, more teacher salaries, nicer schools and more tools for the educational experience.

It’s about balance and sustainability.

As I go to the next EU council in Brussels one thing is for sure:

Our country will be the only one sitting at the table which has had increases of this magnitude.

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