Teachers to get paid sabbaticals, more security inside schools

Labour leader Joseph Muscat announces proposals for teachers to have continuous consultation with policymakers.

Labour Leader Joseph Muscat underscored Labour's commitment to supporting the teaching profession across all levels, from kindergarten level, to tertiary level, as well as Learning Supports Assistants.
Labour Leader Joseph Muscat underscored Labour's commitment to supporting the teaching profession across all levels, from kindergarten level, to tertiary level, as well as Learning Supports Assistants.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat has announced proposals for school teachers that will give them the faculty of a paid, one-year sabbatical so that they can further their professional and academic advancement.

Muscat was speaking on Thursday morning in front of the St George's College (Boys' Liceo), in Hamrun. During the address, he unveild several of Labour's proposails aimed at the teaching profession.

"In order to help teachers advance their skills and their professions, Labour is committed to providing an incentive for teachers willing to do this," Muscat said.

Muscat said that a Labour government would provide a "sabbatical", or a period of paid leave for teachers to undertake studies that would progress their academic and professional advancement.

He said that a Labour government would consult stakeholders as to how it would work, but said that it would be fashioned in a way as to take into account children's scholastic progression, and the available teaching pool.

He said that in no way would this proposal be allowed to disrupt ongoing school work, and that the maximum leave period that Labour is envisaging at this stage is of one year.

He said that the sabbatical would be provided on the condition that the studies undertaken are related to the teaching progression, and also said that "we are not against teachers going to study abroad during this period."

Expressing concern at the "regular incidence of attacks against teachers and the lack of security in Maltese schools", Muscat said that more security was called for.

He said that following recommendations from the MUT, Labour would be initiating "immediate" consultation to look into greater security in schools.

"This, of course, will be tightly regulated. We cannot rush with this, and we must ensure that any security that is implemented is very regulated and also child friendly."

Questioned about this proposal by the media, Muscat specified that nothing will be done without proper consultation with all stakeholders involved.

He said that realistically, the most likely form this security will take are either CCTV camera systems, or members of the disciplined corps being stationed at schools.

Muscat also assured the teaching profession that a new Labour government is not envisaging vast sweeping reforms of the educational system.

"We don't believe the children should serve as experiments. The current educational system is such that it is suffering from reform fatigue," Muscat said.

"We will not carry out more reforms while both the educational system and the teachers working within it are still reeling from the reforms already put in place."

He insisted that Labour believes that teachers' most important role is specifically reaching. "We are committed to allowing them to focus more on this role by cutting down the clerical work and bureaucratic duties they are burdened with."

He also pledged to established a "continuous consultative link between a Labour government and teaching stakeholders", among them the Malta Union of Teachers, and teachers themselves.

He said that this consultative channel would be used to, in agreement with teachers, students, teaching heads, and even unions, establish "an ambitious, realistic, and achievable curriculum."

Muscat insisted that such a curriculum should be "enabling and not prescriptive"

Muscat also announced that a Labour government would kickstart talks with schools in order to hammer out an agreement allowing greater professional mobility to Maltese teachers.

He said that currently, teachers could not move freely between independent schools, church schools, and state schools, without endangering their career progression.

He said that the agreement would be intended to allow them to move freely between one school and another without 'losing' years from their career progression.

Muscat also proposed the establishment of a regular, annual, consultative conference where teachers would be given the platform and space to air their perspective and grievances freely.

Muscat also reiterated Labour's commitment to improve working conditions for all teachers, and insisted on the need for greater awareness and respect for the teaching profession.

He said that Labour would also launch an informative and awareness campaign aimed at improving the general level of respect and appreciation towards teachers and the teaching profession.

Muscat also said that a Labour government would also work towards keeping schools well maintained and cleaned at all times, insisting that there is currently mismanagement in this regard.

@chikku Jaqaw int wiehed minn dawk il-BRAVI li tifhem f'kollox? Jekk it-teachers xalata (skond int) ghalfejn ma mortx teacher int ukoll? U ohra, flok toqghod tparla mill-warrani ghax ma tmurx taghmel nofs ta' nhar tghallem klassi halli tkun taf x'jigifieri! Il-paroli fil-vojt ma jiswiex flus chikku.
ermelinda......or more time to practice private lessons.
Proposals have a tendency of remaining just that, proposals. Let's hope that PL have something more concrete, other than mere proposals for the teaching profession in general, especialy if they are voted onto power this March.
Teachers? Of all the professions you could have chosen you proposed that teachers get a paid one-year-sabbatical? The one profession with part-time hours and holidays galore cannot find time to study part-time?
This will really encourage teachers to get their Master's! Well done!