Education minister vows to take action on early school pick-ups

Minister says complaints from parents on early school pick-ups will be investigated and calls situation unacceptable

Education minister Clifton Grima has said he will take on complaints to the education ministry about school bus collections that are taking place too early.

Grima was asked in the House during question time by Nationalist MP Justin Schembri what he was doing about complaints of parents who say school children are collected too early by the school transport system.

The education ministry is financing the school transport service used by pupils in non-State schools, namely Church schools and private and independent schools.

“We must stay in line with the contracts between the ministry and the service providers, but do remember that it is the schools that select their service providers. Having said that, the education ministry will take up the justified complaints of parents, whether they be parents of pupils in state schools or not,” the minister said in parliament.

Grima said it was unacceptable that students are picked up very early in the day by transport providers. “Let’s not call this a present-day problem. Collection times have been perennial issues in our school system.”

Grima however added that with 900 routes and 11,000 students from the non-State system, it stood to reason that children from all parts of the island were being transported from one end to the other.

“Government primary school children tend to hail from the same locality the school is in. In the case of private or Church school children, these could very well be collected from one part of the island to be taken to another part of the island – and it was for this reason that parents were allowed to select the service provider picking up their children.”