2,700 Children attending free childcare
There are currently over 2,722 children aged between 3 months to 3 years attending Child care in both Malta and Gozo and who are currently benefitting from the free childcare scheme, since the scheme was launched in 1st April 2014.
This was affirmed by Minister for Employment and Education Evarist Bartolo and Minister for Finance Prof. Edward Scicluna during the inauguration of the 13th Smart Kids Childcare centre to open its doors in Malta, on Monday 1st September 2014.
Qawsalla is the 13th Smart Kids Childcare centre in Malta. Along with the other centres, it serves to educate children, whilst providing parents, particularly mothers, with enough flexibility to re-enter the workforce or start working for the very first time.
During the inauguration, Minister for Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo said that Smart Kids child care centres continue to make a difference in the lives of numerous families. He also underlined the importance of diversity, adding that the Government considers it a resource, not a threat.
Minister Bartolo also underlined the importance of such services, as the first 1,000 days of a child’s life determine how the child will develop. He added that childcare centres played an important role in the formation of children, especially when they come from different social backgrounds.
In a brief address, Prof. Scicluna noted that the introduction of free childcare centres was a calculated risk which was worth taking, and welcomed the success of the initiative while underlining its importance as it was encouraging more women to enter employment.
He noted that the scheme, which will save parents a total of €10,000 over a three-year period, has removed a financial obstacle for women to take up a job and mothers now have the opportunity to choose whether to work or not.
ETC chairman Clyde Caruana also said that in the five months since its inception, more than 1,000 women have applied for the scheme, and added that 25% of the 700 people entered employment for the first time since April were mothers.
Operations at the Qawsalla centre in Gzira started in April 2014 and is already offering its services to over 32 children. Other localities offering similar services include: Bormla, Birgu, Siġġiewi, Qormi, Floriana, Marsa, Qawra, Pembroke, Santa Venera, B’Kara, San Ġwann and Naxxar.