Minister for Education Justyne Caruana has announced that a pilot scheme to extend the hours and days of government run childcare centres will start operating at six centres starting from October 2021.
The participating centres in this scheme will extend their opening and closing hours, starting at 6am instead of 7.30am and closing at 6pm instead of 4.30pm. The centres will also open on Saturdays between 6am and 1pm.
Minister Caruana said that in the 2017 Electoral Manifesto, the government had promised the public that this service would be improved and spread even further across Malta.
The trial centres that will open in October are: The Colours Childcare Centre in Birgu, the Train Childcare Centre in Birkirkara, Pizzi Pizzi Kanna Childcare Centre in Naxxar, the Merill Childcare Centre in Pembroke, Żmeraldi Childcare Centre in Żebbuġ and ix-Xemx Childcare Centre in Qawra. Work is being carried out to identify centres in Gozo to address the needs of Gozitans, especially those working in Malta.
Caruana said that the extended opening hours would add around 72 more children to the centres – a 20% increase. This is a change that will reach families who due to current times could not use from the service.
There are currently 385 children attending 13 childcare centres by the government’s Foundation for Educational Services.
A public call for additional staff members to work during the additional opening hours was issued on July 18.