Coast Road funds ‘redirected’ for schools’ infrastructure, equipment

Government launches €15 million investment into new equipment and upgraded infrastructure for public schools.

Project coordinator Joe Mamo, Education minister Evarist Bartolo, Deputy prime minister Louis Grech, and parliamentary secretaries Ian Borg and Jose Herrera
Project coordinator Joe Mamo, Education minister Evarist Bartolo, Deputy prime minister Louis Grech, and parliamentary secretaries Ian Borg and Jose Herrera

A €15.4 million investment into new equipment and infrastructure for public schools was launched by the government at the Kullegg Maria Regina boys’ secondary school in Mosta earlier today.

The investment, adding up to some €12 million from EU funds, would go into the purchase of 3D printers, all-in-one systems as well as a number of new laptops for teachers, which cost some €7 million alone, project coordinator Joe Mamo said.

“The new equipment and technology would be essential for networking purposes and to supplement tablet use and other technology that had been introduced to improve learning experiences,” Mamo said.

Education minister Evarist Bartolo said that the investment would allow the government to address some of the most pressing issues faced by teachers in public schools, particularly in terms of slow technology, which ended up hindering rather than assisting their lessons. 

“We will also be providing Learning Support Assistants and kindergarten assistants with laptops for the first time to help them in their planning of lessons,” Bartolo said, adding that some of the updates were long overdue.

Bartolo also explained that the investment bad also gone into 3D printers and scanners to help students design and create objects and use the latest technology to be equipped for the developments of the industry in the future. 

“This technology is expected to shape the future,” Mamo said, adding that few schools around Europe had already invested in the equipment at their schools.

Mamo further explained that part of the investment would also go into upgrades in existing technologies like interactive whiteboards among others.

Commenting on the inevitability of technology becoming so important, Bartolo said that the important thing was to use this technology for educational purposes besides entertainment.

Parliamentary secretary for economic growth José Herrera said that the investment had also gone into creating the necessary infrastructure and better connectivity to complement the use of technology in the educational system.  

He further explained that the project had been possible thanks to the Malta Information Technology Agency, which had recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft, ensuring the latest technology for the educational system.

EU funds parliamentary secretary Ian Borg said that this had been the biggest direct investment in the educational system.

Commenting on the importance of the digital strategy, deputy prime minister Louis Grech said that technology was essential in equipping students to handle today's challenges and to create more interaction between students. 

Investment reallocated from Coast Road project

Grech further stressed that the €12 million in EU funds had been part of the 25% of the investment for the Coast Road, which had been reassigned after a financial correction. 

“This proves that the funds were never lost and that it has been diverted to such an important sector,” he said.

The European Court of Auditors had recommended withholding €11 million in funds for the Coast Road project, because Transport Malta did not respect public procurement rules.

A financial correction meant that the government had to divert €11 million of its own funds towards other projects.