[WATCH] Education Minister agrees on all counts with MUT President

Xtra sees MUT president Marco Bonnici and Education Minister Evarist Bartolo reading from the same page a week after being at loggerheads • Labour MEP candidate Miriam Dalli on her push for CO2 emissions to be cut across the EU

Xtra spoke to the most prominent figures amidst the Education Act controversy
Xtra spoke to the most prominent figures amidst the Education Act controversy

No one would have believed that just a week ago the Malta Union of Teachers was on a war path over proposed laws that would have ushered in changes for the education profession.

In Thursday night's episode of Xtra, there was not a single point of contention between Education Minister Evarist Bartolo and MUT President Marco Bonnici.

Bartolo said that the withdrawing of a set of bills from discussion in Parliament was unprecedented, something that had never happened before in the history of Malta.

"This should evince how this was a case of miscommunication. We did it as a gesture of goodwill and because it was a shortcoming on our part," the minister said.

MUT President Marco Bonnici and Education Minister Evarist Bartolo (Credit: James Bianchi)
MUT President Marco Bonnici and Education Minister Evarist Bartolo (Credit: James Bianchi)

Bonnici said that the issue of continuous professional development was not something he was against at all. "In fact it's already in place with the current legislation and I agree that it should be there. It's working well. But it shouldn't be tied to the status of a warrant," he insisted.

Minister Bartolo replied by saying that the proposed legislation was meant to target the fickle nature of the current warrant because it allows for the minister to grant this same warrant to anyone, irrespective of his education or lack thereof.

"With the proposed law the minister will no longer have that power. The power is instead granted to a professional council that is specifically designed to make such decisions," Bartolo said.

He said that the biggest problem is a teacher shortage, which is not tied to the issue of the warrant at all, but because of the difficult nature of the evolving role of an educator. "There is a global teacher shortage. The world needs 69 million new teachers," he said, quoting a UNESCO statistic.

Both Bartolo and Bonnici agreed that teachers are scrutinised far too much and that a kind of managerialism has started to infect the teaching profession.

Bartolo said he was pleased that there was this agreement reached between the ministry and the MUT. "I wish that whenever the government posts proposals to legislation online, we are met with more people reading them and reacting to them."

Bonnici replied that the ministry was always readily available to discuss any issues which the MUT brought up.


The second guest of the night was Labour MEP Miriam Dalli, who spoke about her role in the European Parliament.

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli
Labour MEP Miriam Dalli

She had been responsible earlier this year for coming up with an emissions proposal that was approved by the European Parliament which looks to achieve a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.

"This will pressure major car companies to build cars that produce less emissions," she said. "The transport sector is producing the most particulate matter in the world right now. We need urgent action."

Dalli said that the topic of climate change had always interested her and that this was the first law that she worked on as a Labour MEP, proposed when she was a shadow rapporteur.

The socialists in the European Parliament agreed for her to push this law in their name.