PRESS RELEASE BY THE OFFICE OF THE PRINCIPAL PERMANENT SECRETARY: 664 children were assessed for specific needs last year

Stakeholders meetings held as part of Public Service Week 2022

Last year, 664 children went through the statementing process where they were assessed for their specific needs. It emerged from this process that 312 children showed traces of autism or communication difficulties, 99 indicated the condition known as ADHD, 41 had a physical disability, 11 had Down Syndrome, 5 suffer from a visual or hearing impairment, 97 have learning difficulties and 99 have other various conditions. 

These figures were made known at a meeting with Public Service stakeholders held as part of Public Service Week 2022, where the challenges of students with different educational needs were discussed. Public procurement, mental health and online learning were also discussed in other stakeholder meetings.

During the meeting about students with different educational needs, it was explained that following assessment, students are aided in a way that addresses all their needs. To this end, during the previous school year, there were 3,600 learning support educators in primary and secondary State schools. There were also 1,382 and 444 learning support educators working in Church and independent schools respectively.

In addition, 166 students were receiving their education at the resource centres, where they were provided with services addressed specifically to their needs while continuing to be included holistically in the respective schools. 

Discussions at the meeting on mental health included the services offered by the Employee Support Programme (ESP) for public officers as well as community services that provide professional guidance through doctors, psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and other professionals. It was explained that the fact that there are different professionals involved in mental health care helps to provide holistic care while improving the quality of life of those who use these services. 

Participants in the public procurement stakeholders' meeting discussed what has been done in recent years to streamline processes in the Public Service, as well as the implementation of useful suggestions on public procurement made during similar meetings in previous years.  

The meeting about online learning discussed the challenges posed by the pandemic in the educational field, which was​ transformed into opportunities both in the teaching methodology itself as well as in assessments and examinations. Students and teachers adapted well to the new circumstances and teaching, assessments and examinations continued as normal. Statistics collected by the University of Malta show that during the 2020/21 school year more than 90% of exams were carried out virtually. 
The aim of including these meetings in the Public Service Week year after year is to listen to what the Public Service’s external clients have to say and implement improvements where necessary according to their suggestions.