Bernard Grech pledges higher salaries for educators, air-conditioned classrooms

A new Nationalist government will radically increase the salaries and improve the work conditions of educators, Opposition leader Bernard Grech promises

PN leader Bernard Grech courts teachers with a pledge to radically improve their salaries and conditions (Photo: PN)
PN leader Bernard Grech courts teachers with a pledge to radically improve their salaries and conditions (Photo: PN)

Starting salaries for teachers and educators should improve and increase more regularly, Bernard Grech said, pledging a radical overhaul if the Nationalist Party is in government.

The PN leader said Malta needed a generational leap in how educators are viewed by society, promising more investment in the sector during a Q&A session on Saturday evening in Attard.

Grech said the starting salary of educators should be better, their salaries should increase more regularly, and these increases should continue going up for a longer period of time. He did not quantify the additional expenditure this would mean.

Earlier this week, Grech also pledged that a PN government would increase the VAT-exempt threshold for businesses and self-employed to €60,000 from €30,000.

He said Malta was currently struggling to attract enough teachers to the profession as well as struggling to retain them. Malta was also losing its most experienced teachers to other professions.

“We need to incentivise all levels of the profession to stay on, and also to constantly improve their own skills. We will find ways of ensuring that teachers who invest in their own education and up-skilling will also be better rewarded,” he told supporters.

Grech said a Nationalist government will also ensure that increases to teacher salaries in the public sector will be reflected in Church and private schools, through a combination of direct assistance and tax credits, as is already done today.

“The Labour government sees teachers like child-minders, seeing them only as a means to allow parents to go out to work. But we see them as educators who are forming the hearts and minds of our children,” Grech said. 

He said the PN always invested in education and reaped results for the country, through its only natural resource: human potential. 

He also pledged more investment in school infrastructure to adapt to rising temperatures and environmental targets.

Schools must become more energy efficient, rooftops should be used for solar panels, and classrooms should be air-conditioned, allowing schools to also be utilised comfortably during summer for various community needs, including summer schools.  

Grech added that students need to be better equipped with internet and technology, and a Nationalist government would ensure that schoolchildren in need will continue to get free internet access as they were given during the COVID pandemic. Tablets will also be provided for free to secondary school students.