Foreign teachers may be needed to plug shortfalls, education faculty says

The University of Malta’s Faculty of Education has cautiously backed a proposal to get foreign teachers but urges government to make teaching an attractive career

The UOM's education faculty acknowledges that foreign teachers may have to be engaged to plug current shortfalls
The UOM's education faculty acknowledges that foreign teachers may have to be engaged to plug current shortfalls

Foreign teachers may be needed to temporarily fill gaps in the education system, the University of Malta’s Faculty of Education has said.

However, the faculty also urged the government to tackle the teacher shortage through long-term initiatives that would encourage more students to take up teaching as a career.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has floated the idea of importing supply teachers from overseas to plug shortfalls in the system.

The idea was opposed by the Union of Professional Educators, earlier this week.

In a rare statement, the UOM’s education faculty said on Wednesday that an alternative pool of teachers, such as foreign qualified teachers, may be needed to temporarily make up for shortfalls.

However, it stressed that these teachers should meet current qualification standards.

The faculty also proposed several measures to encourage more Maltese to take up teaching as a profession.

These include ongoing teaching career promotional campaigns, allocating a higher stipend to teacher-trainees, and offering teachers better salaries and career prospects.

The faculty cautioned against any watering down teacher-education programmes because this would have long-term consequences on the young generation.

It defended its courses, insisting that the teacher-education programmes were based on school realities, and discussed issues related to the social, emotional and educational needs of learners.

Subject pedagogy is part of the core programme and focuses on how teachers can cater for learners’ individual characteristics, to maximise their potential, by going beyond learning basic subject knowledge, the statement read.

"The goal is to form teachers who will enhance students’ holistic development and not just the academic aspect of the curriculum… This is why we have always been concerned about the engagement of supply teachers in schools who are being recruited with minimal requirements," the faculty said.

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