[WATCH] UPE disagrees with foreign teachers, fears long term consequences on educational system

The Union for Professional Educators says that lack of qualifications and pedagogical differences may have long term repercussions and warns of cultural barriers that may hinder students' learning experience

Union of Professional Educators CEO Graham Sansone (right)
Union of Professional Educators CEO Graham Sansone (right)

The Union for Professional Educators has raised concern over the employment of foreign teachers to make up for the lack of educators in the work force.

“This shows an apparent lack of long term planning,” UPE CEO Graham Sansone said in his reaction to comments made by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo to The Malta Independent on Sunday.

Bartolo said the government was in talks with the Malta Union of Teachers on the matter, in a bid to plug the shortage of teachers.

But the news has not gone down too well with the UPE. At a press conference on Tuesday, Sansone said the lack of qualifications needed will result in long-term repercussions.

“It was pointed out by Frank Fabri (education permanent secretary) that the entry requirements will be equivalent to those of a supply teacher, meaning that no pedagogical knowledge and experience will be expected,” the UPE CEO said.

The lack of cultural knowledge will also be an issue, according to the union, because this will create hurdles in the student’s education.

“We are fearing a culture shock with such a large influx of foreign educators,” the union said.

“One tends to forget that teachers are not only delivering academic knowledge but are rather the mother and father figure who understand the social and cultural dynamics of the class,” they said.

The issue of increasing the foreign workforce population and its impact on the country’s infrastructure was also cited by the union.

The UPE said that when reviewing the Labour Party’s 2013 and 2017 election manifestos, both had great proposals targeting the teaching profession. The union insisted that had these proposals been implemented, they would have prevented the education system’s current state.

“Had the proposals been acted upon, we would not be experiencing the current shortage of teachers, which is plaguing the system and which has created the need to consider employing foreign teachers,” the UPE said.

Asked what proposals the UPE recommends in order for the education system to improve, it said that initiatives for students to take up teaching must take priority.

“We feel that financial incentives to retain teachers, higher student stipends and early retirement should be made a priority,” the UPE said.

The union also stated that professional advancement should be provided to educators.

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