During an online press conference, Minister for Education and Employment Owen Bonnici announced that, after the provision of lunches to those students which are on Scheme 9 and are therefore considered to be in need of material assistance, 250 students on scheme 9 will be receiving the provision of free internet access with an investment of €40,000.
Those 250 students, which have been identifying as lacking internet access at home, will be provided with a small apparatus which, once switched on, will provide access to the web. Internet access is crucial during the current time, where most educational services are being offered online.
Apart from providing free internet access to students who do not have this service, the Ministry for Education and Employment will also be providing a free computer, laptop or tablet for the duration of this period in which schools are closed to students falling under Scheme 9 who do not have this device.
Minister Bonnici also said that work is being undertaken so that computers from the Department of Education and other educational institutions are loaned to those students on Scheme 9 who do not own a computer at home. Dr Bonnici said that he was donating one month of his ministerial salary to the Office of the Permanent Secretary within the Ministry of Education and Employment, to be used for the purpose of buying computers in order to be then loaned to children under Scheme 9 who do not have a computer at home.
He appealed to private companies to consider donating or loaning computers for free for the benefit of students in need.
Minister Bonnici said that, “We are committed as a government to help the people who are in need of special assistance, particularly now that most education has been transferred online.”