Representing educators | Marco Bonnici

The idea that the MUT is negative and that it refutes flexibility is baseless and we’re sure that some members would actually state the opposite as well

Any educator would attest to the fact that the system seems to be in transition all the time and as educators we are risking a collective fatigue, which would result in more educators leaving the system
Any educator would attest to the fact that the system seems to be in transition all the time and as educators we are risking a collective fatigue, which would result in more educators leaving the system

I refer to the article entitled ‘It is not about teachers, but about the children’ by Saviour Balzan (31 January 2021), which is based on many suppositions and wrong conclusions about the educational sector, educators and the MUT.

First of all, Mr Balzan asks why things never change in relation to teachers. If he had any idea about the educational sector, he would know that the exact opposite is true and that the MUT has pointed out many times over the years that educators have actually been left breathless by the scale of reforms undertaken by the government.

Any educator would attest to the fact that the system seems to be in transition all the time and as educators we are risking a collective fatigue, which would result in more educators leaving the system. This crisis is real, and the pandemic has accelerated it in many ways.

With regards to the claim made by Mr Balzan, who stated that he set up a house union specifically to split from MUT, one would have expected that he provides the true picture by stating that the said house union that he tried to set up in an independent school was short-lived and it did not even manage to gain recognition, so much that MUT continued to represent educators collectively and has since signed three collective agreements with the said school. The most recent agreement, which is still in force, was concluded in 2019.

He also asks how many of the MUT’s council members have children, which is an insult to both council members and to the profession.

Apart from the fact that such personal information is no one’s business, one must really ask whether this kind of attitude has ever been taken with respect to other professions.

The rest of the article is a hotchpotch of stereotypes that only serve to increase the animosity and prejudice against educators and the MUT. Many members reacted to the points raised about the carnival mid-terms, rightly pointing out that the way the school calendar is set up has mid-term breaks built in as a breather for both educators and students alike. One must remember that educators do not have a standard vacation leave system where one can book and take a week off for personal errands and reasons.

Furthermore, mid-terms are typically used for planning, corrections and other necessary work in preparation for the next half of the term. Regarding this erroneous idea of missed lessons, many members have pointed out that this year contact hours have actually increased drastically since there were no outings, extracurricular activities and in many years no half-yearly exams which added a further two weeks of lessons.

In conclusion, many have attributed this article to hidden agendas, chips on shoulders and axes to grind, but the MUT will not go into these kinds of arguments and will leave the reader to decide on the merits of the arguments.

However, the MUT assures Mr Balzan that it understands the magnitude of the crisis and together with its members it has been working tirelessly on many fronts.

The idea that the MUT is negative and that it refutes flexibility is baseless and we’re sure that some members would actually state the opposite as well – that the union needs to adopt a more hard-line attitude towards situations many educators are being faced with. The reality is, however, that the MUT has always tried to strike a very delicate balance that makes sure that members, as educators, are heard and represented in all fora of all respective educational sectors including state, church and independent.

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