‘Free childcare centres should be available to stay-at-home parents’ – Cassar

Education shadow minister says free childcare centres measure should not be limited to working parents only.

Is-Sardinella childcare centre.
Is-Sardinella childcare centre.

Childcare centres were very important for the social development of children and therefore they should be available to all for free, irrespective of whether parents were in employment or not.

Speaking in parliament, Opposition MP Joe Cassar said that while the Labour Party had pledged "free childcare centres for all", yet the scheme as proposed in Budget 2014 was limiting the free service to working parents only.

"The Nationalist Party has always believed that childcare centres were important for the social development of children. We therefore believe that these centres should be available to everyone, even to children whose parents do not work," he said.

Cassar argued that childcare centres were not "a parking lot" for children but EduCare centres.

He went on to urge government to reconsider the option limiting the service to working parents.

"I urge government so that all children could benefit from this service," he said, while arguing that the budget allocation for this measure would not be enough. He argued that if 3,000 children were to be benefit from the service, for 20 hours a week at €3 per hour, the cost would amount to around a yearly €9 million.

Yet, the budgetary allocation was around €3.8 million.

Cassar argued that it was a PN administration that had opened 14 childcare centres around Malta and the development of further more had been in the helpline. He asked whether the private sector would be helped by the government to improve their premises while ensuring that EduCare standards are met.

The former health minister said education had always been the "flagship" sector of all Nationalist administration over the past 25 years. Unfortunately, he said, the PL was trying to hide the continuous successes in the sector made by the PN.

"Beyond this, the minister is more focused on hiding the mistakes already carried out, such as the retraction of a decision to stop stipends for students who repeat years at the Higher Secondary," he said.

Cassar said one would have expected to see "a clear vision" for the coming five years in the budget.

"Where is Labour's roadmap on education? Eight months have passed since the election and yet, we have heard nothing on how and where the five new schools will be built," he said.

More in Budget 2014
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Are you serious? You are being a joker as usual. Now we wait for Saturday to see what a joke you have been while being a minister for health under the PN. Good luck.
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So the mothers may go out to play tombola or attend coffee mornings? I do not know where Cassar gets his ideas. No wonder he left such a mess at Health! Why not ask all Maltese to stay at home, and send them a cheque for bothering to wake up. Way to go National debt! At least il-Lorry got this one right, i.e. that he did not enjoy any talent within his ranks.
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Mario Pace
Did i read well, that Dr. Cassar wants free childcare centres for parents who stay at home. So, instead of trying to get women to go out and work he wants them to stay at hoime and send their children to childcare centres. Maybe, he wants this so that they can attend coffee mornings or go and play Bingo. How come your governemnt didn't come out with this stupid idea before?