Rent issues for Gozitan students discussed at KPS meeting
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Gozo University Group President Rachel Galea and Social Policy Officer Corrine Zahra, attended a KPS meeting held this week, during which various issues that affect Gozitan students in Malta were discussed.
The GUG representatives whelmed the initiative of the two hostels in Gwardamanga and Gzira for Gozitan students, proposed by Gozo Bishop Mgr Mario Grech with the help of the Augustinian Brothers and the Saint Joseph’s Sisters.
The Gozo University Group noted several queries that were put forward regarding these hostels, such as when it will be ready, their capacity and standard, wi-fi, transport, curfew and rent cost.
The organisation queried if the candidates must be Catholic, if there are study-rooms or desks, and if the hostels are going to be made up of private rooms with a common kitchen, or as an apartment.
The GUG also stressed that the candidates’ parents’ income should be a criteria and that a Gozitan representative should sit on board meetings.
The issue of rents for Gozitan students was discussed – which it was pointed out, is one of the main problems that Gozitan students have to face while studying and living in Malta.
Those present said that the €500 subsidy every 3 months is a support to a much larger cost, as compared to the current cost of living.
However, it was argued that increasing the €500 subsidy is not the solution, because the apartment owners will increase the rent once again, as has happened in the past.
The point was highlighted that some students even decide to rent the apartment during the summer months, even though it is not used, in order not to have to go through the stress of finding another apartment for the next year.
“Being a University student is already stressful, let alone for students who have to find an adequate place to live in,” the GUG said.
It added that, many owners prefer to rent to foreigners rather than Gozitan students, since the former are able to pay more. This makes it harder for students to find an apartment nearby.
When asked about alternative solutions about the rental issue, the organisations present at the meeting said that “improving the facilities in Gozo and making more use of video conferencing would not be such a bad idea.”
GUG said that, together with the other organisations, it also believes that increasing the subsidy for those who really need it would render beneficial to the said students.
Other ideas put forward were improving the transport method from Cirkewwa to Msida and vice versa, food vouchers, and renting outside Msida, for example Hal Lija.
When it was discussed with the organisations whether the Government should intervene on the matter, the answer was that it should, depending on its action.
The Gozo University Group thanked the KSU for taking the initiative in discussing these problems during one of their KPS meetings.