The MUT refers to the recommendations by the Ministry for Education and Employment in the White Paper entitled ‘Effective recruitment and selection procedures for people working with minors’. While the Union agrees with rigorous screening and procedures at all times, the MUT is against any further bureaucratic burdens placed on educators and on a system already weighed down by red tape. The MUT also expects that such screening is made to all professionals in contact with minors and not just teachers, who seem to be singled out unfairly.
The MUT is also totally against treating professional educators as suspicious in the first instance and on having to prove themselves clean. Such an attitude is totally unheard of in all professions and the Union expects the Government to respect the professional status of all educators in a concrete manner rather than invent humiliating processes. The Union suggests that legislation connected to the offenders register should be clarified and simplified so that the Courts of Law should inform employers concerned immediately should an employee be listed. On the other hand the employer should be allowed access to the offenders’ register.
Moreover, the MUT has for years been putting forward various suggestions to protect minors who have severe problems at their home or at their community. It is hoped that this legislation includes moves to tackle child abuse at home and within the communities that may range from neglect to sex abuse and all the variants in between. The Union notes that to date the Children’s Act is still not in place. While the MUT insists that the majority of parents are responsible towards their children, there is a minority of irresponsible ones from all walks of life and social backgrounds that are ruining their children’s lives and little is being done to protect them.
In conclusion, the MUT wishes to note while general improvements to the system would be welcome, structures are already in place especially in relation to warranting, ethics, boards of discipline and audits at educational institutions. The Union notes, however, that there is a need to invest in more resources for the purposes of enforcement and quality assurance. The MUT also makes reference to suggestions made several times, and as yet not implemented, to ensure that all persons working with children have with a professional warrant or license.