Teachers say ‘underfunded and understaffed’ Breakfast Club exists already

Teachers’ union welcomes commitment to supervision scheme for children before school starts

The union said the budget contained "many positive measures" for teachers, which included courses for young people and apprenticeship schemes, a sabbatical for teachers and the increase in funding for University of Malta and its change in funding system.

But it said it was yet to be discussed whether the pilot project on the introduction of tablets for school children would be part of ongoing long-term educational reforms and not just a novelty token.

"The MUT also needs to make sure that this pilot project will not add further burdens on educators who are still catching up with a multitude of reforms," the union said.

The MUT also said it was in favour of the supervision scheme for children before school starts, dubbed the 'Breakfast Club'.

"However, the union remarks that a similar scheme is already in place that unfortunately is underfunded and understaffed. The Union hopes that there will be proper investment in this scheme this time round."

The MUT said it was definitely in favour of the decision to open free childcare centres. But it added that this required substantial investment and proper working conditions to attract professional staff to take care of children of a very young age. The MUT called for the provision of human resources that would be congruent to the budget allocated.

It also acknowledged the government's proposal to build five new schools and to modernise existing structures. "We expect to provide it with further details during the coming weeks to guide members accordingly."

The union also said the Budget indicated that there will be more autonomy at a local school level. "The MUT agrees with the plan and had suggested such measures in the past. The union would appreciate if more details on this are published and recommends that Heads of Schools are not burdened with further bureaucracy."

The union said it expected the budget to tackle perennial problems such as informal education within the family context and in the community as well as transport problems for students and schools. "It is hoped that the Government will provide concrete solutions on these in the coming months. Last but not least, the Union embraces the Government's stance against tax evasion and welcomes the commitment to reduce utility bills."