The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) is this week commemorating its 99th Anniversary – which falls on 22nd November – with a series of activities. The main activity is a National Conference, held today Tuesday 20th November 2018 entitled “The role of international studies (TIMSS, PIRLS and PISA) in providing a true picture of Maltese Students’ Attainment”. This conference included the presentation of a study and analysis conducted by Dr. Vincent Marmara’ on behalf of the MUT together with subsequent discussion by experts and main stakeholders in the educational field including representatives from the State Directorates and other main stakeholders. Speakers included MUT officials, the Minister for Education and Employment and the respective Shadow Minister.
Speaking during the conference, MUT President Marco Bonnici stated that the MUT “has since its inception been very much conscious of its moral obligations to strike a balance between its members’ rights and their responsibilities. This explains why the MUT took up a dual role from the start, namely that of a trade union and a professional organisation. Its trade-unionistic role is the one which makes the headlines regularly and therefore needs no introduction, but the professional aspect needs to be emphasised more. This research, together with many others before it, have been paramount for educators especially since national scientific studies about local aspects and issues are few and far between.”
“This research on international studies is one such study by the MUT. At a glance, the reasons seem to be many but can be reduced to lack of awareness nationally about what these studies entail together with lack of general preparation for them. This contrasts with other countries, where they treat such tests as very important and are main events in their national calendar. Apart from this, the MUT stresses the point that a change in mentality is sorely needed to focus less on the vast content being taught and instead start to focus more on general problem-solving skills. Only in this way students will perform better when asked questions which were not directly related to syllabi content. The MUT has now issued a set of recommendations based on the research conclusions and looks forward for all stakeholders to work together to better our students’ educational attainment.”
Meanwhile, MUT anniversary activities started last Friday with an activity for retired members and will continue until Friday 23rd evening with a thanksgiving mass and a reception in which the MUT Council and distinguished persons in the education sector have been invited.