From what is published so far, it seems that the Prime Minister justified his thinking not by providing evidence from other countries that vouchers have proven to give better results at improved inclusion in society of our disabled children, but rather by saying that some of the budget for their educational needs, which Government has since 2008 mysteriously ‘capped’ at a mere and static €900,000, must be shared by other NGOs reducing the argument about best education to the level of a ‘popular choice’ of charitable handout !
Does such mean that this Government also plans to ‘cap’ and ‘voucherise’ educational and health services for the so-called normal so that a student can redeem one’s vouchers at private lessons rather than at the quality-controlled ITS, MCAST or University of Malta?
Does this mean that Government thinks it best that one requiring healthcare should seek treatment at unsupervised freelancers and perhaps at part-timers ?
How does Government propose to ensure that a ‘secondary’ market for these vouchers does not get created so that the vouchers cannot be bartered or cashed by parents/guardians to the disadvantage of their offspring who are unable to protest that not enough is being done to develop their own potential ?
Without acting as a spokesman for INSPIRE ( to whom I have long volunteered my own services ), I feel I must say that the Education Department’s sudden awakening to the requirement of an audit of the services it subcontracts to providers is no threat whatsoever. INSPIRE has for a number of years already engaged international specialist auditors to certify and accredit the procedures of all it performs for the public under Government sub-contract agreement. Rather than foster division among NGOs, why does not Government incentivise amalgamation such that all rise together to the highest possible quality levels?
I am merely a parent of a 34 year old Down’s Syndrome daughter (with additional congenital eyesight problems) who was educated firstly for a 14 year period at a Rudolf Steiner school in England followed by a further 16 years at EDEN/INSPIRE. Like the majority of parents, I am not an educationalist by training and I fear that all I can do in the present worrying circumstances is to speak up for those like my daughter who perhaps are less fortunate and, above all, to pray God that those at present in authority make the right choice of acting in the direct interest of the mentally-challenged rather than in the interests of their own approaching tough challenge.