Teacher shortage down to education ministry’s lack of planning, PN says

Nationalist Party says government has failed to address teacher shortage along the years

File Photo
File Photo

The Nationalist Party has accused the education ministry of “failing to plan” for the upcoming scholastic year, after the teachers’ union complaints on the use of peripatetic teachers in primary school classes.

“The statement by the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) shows there was no plan and dialogue with professionals,” spokesperson Clyde Puli said.

On Monday morning, the MUT addressed a press conference outside the education ministry, slamming it for “not being prepared,” after specialised educators were deployed to fill in a teacher shortage at primary state schools just days before they reopen.

The ministry has since played down claims by the MUT, insisting it had reached out to the union by early September to inform them of how they will be assigning peripatetic teachers.

On the court injunction by the ministry to halt MUT industrial action, the PN said this was not the solution.

“The solution can only be achieved through dialogue,” Puli said.

Last month, the PN had called for a “calculated plan” for the reopening of schools. Puli had said the plan should tackle different scenarios, along with thorough consultation with all stakeholders who will ultimately implement whatever guidelines will be published.

Nationalist Clifford Zahra Fenech said should government had adopted the opposition’s proposals; it would not be in the situation it finds itself in. “It’s demoralising to be notified on the changes at such a late stage,” he said.

He went on to say that the real issue at hand – the lack of educators – is being swept under the rug.

“Government has failed to address this reality,” he said.

Candidate Julie Zahra said the PN truly respects the profession, and that is why it is promising radical proposals such as a “drastic increase” in teacher salaries.

“We want to ensure that teachers, and the teaching profession ae truly appreciated,” she said.