ELT schools face loss of millions because of coronavirus

According to the report carried out by Deloitte, the current level of cancellations at the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations (FELTOM) schools are resulting in an estimated monthly financial loss of €1.4million. It is estimated that the cost to Malta’s economy is €3.4m per month. 

“Working together we will go through it and it will pass”

However, since March 5 when the report was completed, Malta has banned all travel with Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland – meaning the impact on ELT schools will be even greater.  

Due to the fact that there was a specific ban on Italy and France regarding education travel, which are some of the largest economies [for ELT schools in Malta], there was a lot of turmoil for our schools,” James Perry, CEO of FELTOM, told The PIE News. 

“We asked Deloitte to create an impact assessment into the effect on the schools and on the economy, in the hope of going to our government and asking for assistance.”

The survey cited that FELTOM schools, which represent 85% of the total ELT industry in Malta, generated a gross operating profit of €11m in 2018. 

However, the cancellation rate in March and April 2019 for ELT schools was in excess of 40%. The survey also noted a progressive slow down in booking pace which has already reached 45%. 

The result of these cancellations could be the loss of millions of euros, the survey found.

Deloitte’s survey estimated that the cancellation of 4,000 arrivals will result in monthly financial losses of €1.4m to FELTOM schools. This figure will increase to €2.1m with cancellations of around 6,000. 

“Unfortunately the impact assessment is already outdated because since we did the report, there have been further closures, of airports, of flights,” Perry said. 

“The Maltese government is taking quite drastic measures…so the impact assessment, while it was extremely valid, is outdated because the numbers [of cancellations] are much higher than reported.”

Some language schools in Malta have temporarily closed because of coronavirus; The PIE has learned that LAL Language Centres’s Sliema school is closed until March 20. 

In 2017, Malta’s ELT schools recorded historic increases in enrolments – highs that FELTOM sought to stabilise in 2019.

FELTOM is hoping for funding and tax moratoriums from the Maltese government to help keep ELT schools afloat amid the pandemic.

“Working together we will go through it and it will pass”

Perry explained that it is also crucial that ELT schools keep positive. 

“We have to understand that this is a virus and this will pass and once it passes, we should not be afraid to travel,” he said. 

“It’s not the first time there has been something similar to this in the world and we always manage to survive it. 

“This is the most important thing to keep in mind – working together we will go through it and it will pass,” he added.

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