Commissioner Schmit was in Malta to discuss the country’s social policy achievements with government ministers, MPs and social partners and to visit ESF-funded social projects, which help children to thrive in their education, identify and support young people with mental health issues and develop social services to help children stay with their families.
Giving children a boost in digital skills
One-Tablet-per-Child aims to prevent early-school leaving through identifying and adapting to children's needs and improving their educational outcomes. Since the start of the project, almost 11 500 tablets have been distributed. In addition, the project has provided training courses for teachers and other educational staff, digital content, virtual reality headsets, exam reader pens, AI tools to assess students as well as info sessions for parents. The project offers catch-up classes to further prevent early-school leaving and improve performance of students-at-risk, with over 1 000 students supported in 2022. With an ESF+ budget of €13.5 million during the 2021-2027 funding period, One-Tablet-per Child will focus on secondary schools, aiming to reach over 18 000 students and over 6 000 teachers.
Early identification of mental health needs
The Richmond Foundation offers comprehensive support to people experiencing mental health issues, as well as to their families and relatives. The European Social Fund’s support has enabled the programme to extend services, ensuring people receive targeted assistance as early as possible. Co-financed courses for early detection of mental health issues among teenagers and young adults increase the chances of persons with mental health issues to successfully integrate into society. The training is accessible to all, educational staff, parents and young people themselves. Nearly 50-75% of mental health issues are generally present between 15-20 years old, and active and early treatment is thus vital to establish the care network those affected need to thrive in their communities.
After visiting the Foundation, Commissioner Schmit said: 'I am particularly pleased to visit the Richmond Foundation which works in the field of mental health. I am proud that the EU helps to fund important projects like this.'
Community-based care for vulnerable households
Commissioner Schmit also met representatives of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services, which implements the ESF co-financed project on Home-Based Therapeutic Services. These services support families and individuals who experience violence, poverty, abuse, physical and mental illness, as well as concerns related to child abuse and neglect. Working to preserve families and households, they offer a shift from a medical focus to a more holistic approach integrating social support, psychotherapy, and parenting skills programmes, thus avoiding situations where children have to be placed in institutions.
ESF+ support for social inclusion in in Malta
The new ESF+ 2021-2027 in Malta is committed to improving social inclusion and supporting vulnerable groups. The EU will invest €124.4 million in ESF+ funds in Malta to support projects promoting education and training, access to employment and healthcare. Out of this total budget €32.5 million (26.1%) will be dedicated to social inclusion interventions such as the active inclusion of persons with disabilities, measures for disadvantaged children, implementing the EU Child Guarantee, and anti-discrimination measures to facilitate the integration of third-country nationals. The ESF+ investments will support Malta in achieving its 2030 social targets of raising the employment rate to 84.6%, increasing adult learning participation to 57.6% and reducing the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 3.3%.
- Publication date
- 25 June 2023
- Representation in Malta