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Minister's messages 'offensive, disrespectful' to teaching profession

MUT warns of industrial action unless proposals are satisfactory

Messages being sent by the Education Minister about the teaching profession are “offensive and disrespectful” to the profession and educators who worked hard to get their qualifications, the Malta Union of Teachers said today.

The teacher shortage issue was exacerbated after the Education Department e-mailed university students to advertise vacancies for teachers in biology, chemistry, accounts, integrated science, ICT and computer studies at government middle and secondary schools.

“Any interested students who would like to work part-time for a number of hours are kindly requested to send us an e-mail,” the circular reads.

The MUT said its members felt insulted at the way the situation had degenerated.

It warned that if the sectoral agreement proposals to be received in the coming days were not satisfactory and if the ministry failed to seriously mitigate the current shortage crisis, it would resort to industrial action.

The MUT said the minister had now said that only four full-time and four part-time teachers were missing.

“This is a skewed version of facts and another slap in the face for educators who have been transferred back to the classroom after being promoted or having shifted to services, others who have been forced to teach different subjects and others who have had their classroom increase in size to the absolute maximum allowed.”

The situation was more worrying when one considered that the number of graduates was diminishing each year.

“The ministry is in denial about the gravity of this situation,” the union said.

It said that after years of sacrifice and study to obtain degrees in pedagogy, members were insulted after hearing that everyone could simply wake up in the morning and decide to be a teacher for the day.

“If this is the way forward in the education sector, it is no wonder the situation is what it is. Instead of justifying short-term measures to fill in emergencies, the ministry should instead focus on and inform everyone concerned about what they were doing to solve this problem.”

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