Updated | Support educators transferred to primary teaching on eve of scholastic year, MUT says

A 150 teacher shortage will force support teachers to forego their duties and teach primary classes

Updated at 2:29pm with statement from Ministry of Education

Up to 150 primary classes have been left without a teacher, the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) said on Sunday, in what it describes as “one of the messiest exercises carried out in the last decade”.

The MUT stated that teachers providing essential supplementary services in schools, such as literacy support and complementary teaching, will instead be transferred to a primary class as from Monday.

Having been notified of the change on the eve of the scholastic year, these teachers will not be able to continue supporting students in their designated roles.

“The MUT is following these deployment cases and is protesting with the Ministry about this unprecedented deployment exercise. The union has already declared a trade dispute with the Ministry earlier this week and is issuing directives to affected teachers,” it said.

The MUT added that the ministry had been boasting for months that it is well prepared for the new scholastic season, but in reality chose to hide this problem instead of tackling it in the months prior.

“Now, in panic mode, the Ministry for Education is trying to fill these vacancies through a rushed deployment exercise on the eve of the scholastic year, leaving thousands of students without essential services for the entire scholastic year and is expecting teachers to prepare to take a primary class, which they may have never taught, overnight. This is unacceptable.”

Union changed view last minute - ministry

In reaction to the MUT's statement, the ministry of education insisted that everything is in place for the start of the new scholastic year.

The ministry asserted that it was always clear with the union on how the deployments will take place, claiming that the union changed its mind at the last minute. 

"Talks on this took place a while ago and the ministry was always clear with the union on how the deployments will be made, according to seniority, of teachers offering peripatetic services due to the need for 82 teachers for primary schools," it said.

"Primary teachers are selected from peripatetic services to teach primary classes again, while the peripatetic service will still be provided."