MEIA is deeply concerned that performing arts schools have not been allowed to reopen. Whereas public health remains a priority for the association and its members, lack of consultation with the industry has created considerable damage to the provision of arts education in Malta. Unlike what has been reported in the media, the provision of arts education was in line with all protocols requested by the health authorities and carries no higher risk than any other educational activity.
The sustained closure of arts schools also means that students will not be able to complete the examinations required to further their studies in the arts. Schools providing arts education have been operating safely following all health protocols since July 2020 with no evidence of contagion from the schools. The confidence in arts education was built diligently by arts educators through their investments to secure the health and safety of staff, teachers and students. Whereas some online teaching may resume, the main pedagogical content requires practical and in-person training.
Government’s approach to close arts schools confirms the mindset towards a sector that is an afterthought and is serving as the sacrificial lamb to appease other industries. MEIA reaffirms that arts schools have already demonstrated a strong track record of successful mitigation measures and will continue to collaborate with the Health Authorities to ensure that arts education, which must be seen as equal to any other educational activity, returns. MEIA is also expecting the Ministry for Culture to propose compensation schemes for the severe financial losses that have been registered due to the forced closure of arts schools.
MEIA members in arts education will follow the direction of the Health Authorities and are committed to sustain their collaboration with the Authorities in the best interest of educators, students and their overall wellbeing.