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Cristina questions proposed sabbatical for teachers

Cristina questions proposed sabbatical for teachers

Education Minister Dolores Cristina said this afternoon in a reaction to comments on education by labour leader Joseph Muscat that a final document on the national minimum curriculum was completed last December and she therefore could not understand how he had spoken about drawing it up.

The document, she said, was drawn up after extensive consultation with all involved.

Speaking at a press conference at PN headquarters, Ms Cristina said that while Dr Muscat spoke of building a coalition with the Malta Union of Teachers, such a coalition already existed.

The government and the union held regular meetings, at least once a month, she said, and despite occasional disagreements, they worked well together.

She said she wanted to reject the impression that Dr Muscat was trying to give that consultation was lacking, insisting that was far from being the case.

It was true, she added, that teachers went through a lot when reforms were introduced, but she said the reforms of the past few years were necessary for the education system to continue to evolve. She thanked teachers for their work and cooperation.

She said the PN government had improved the conditions of all teaching grades, as evidenced by recently-concluded collective agreements. The government had also offered scholarships and new opportunities for career development.

On Dr Muscat's proposal to have a paid sabbatical of up to one year to enable teachers to further their studies, Ms Cristina said she was not against sabbaticals but she wanted to know morel, notably how much the proposal would cost and how it would be implemented without disrupting schools if there was a large take-up. 

Questioned about the parliamentary honoraria which ministers had received, Ms Cristina said an amount was deducted from her salary every month as part of the refund and she would pay up to the last penny. 

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