Teachers ‘insulted’ as authorities seek unqualified students to plug shortages

Malta Union of Teachers says Education Minister is in denial on teacher shortages as it threatens industrial action

Teachers are angered as authorities seek unqualified students to tackle shortage
Teachers are angered as authorities seek unqualified students to tackle shortage

Using harsh language, the Malta Union of Teachers has taken umbrage at the Education Department’s initiative to ask university students to work as part-time teachers.

The MUT said the decision was “offensive and disrespectful to the profession”, adding it was insulted by the on-going humiliation of teachers.

“After years of sacrifice and study to get degrees in pedagogy, members are insulted that such initiatives reduce the teaching profession to something so cheap that everyone can simply wake up in the morning and decide to be a teacher for the day,” the union said.

The Education Department sent out an email to university students this morning asking them to work part-time for a number of hours and cover lessons in a variety of subjects in middle and secondary schools. The move is seen as a stop-gap solution to curb teacher shortages.

However, the MUT is incensed by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo’s Facebook comment that only four full-time and four part-time teachers were missing.

Calling this a “skewed version of facts”, the union said educators have been transferred back to the classroom after being promoted while others have been forced to teach different subjects and in more than one school to make up for the shortage.

In some schools, classroom sizes have also been extended to the maximum limit allowed at law.

The union accused the minister of being in denial on teacher shortages with little effort being put in to address the problem for the long term.

The MUT also threatened industrial action if the sectoral agreement proposals in the coming days were not satisfactory.

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