Following an email sent by the Education Department to University students, asking them to “work part-time for a number of hours” and cover lessons in a variety of subjects in middle secondary schools, members of the MUT feel insulted on the way the situation has degenerated and on how the teaching profession is being treated.
This morning the Ministry, while confirming that it has asked for this call to be issued, has stated that only 4 full-time and 4 part-time teachers are 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 in more than one school, others who have had their classroom increase in size and to the absolute maximum allowed, and so on. The situation is further worrying when one compares the number of graduates, which is diminishing each year. With this message the Union has no other option but to feel that the Ministry is in denial about the gravity of this situation.
Furthermore the MUT and its members feel that the message being sent about the teaching profession is offensive and disrespectful to the profession and the many educators who have worked hard for their qualifications. After years of sacrifice and study to get degrees in pedagogy, members are insulted that such initiatives reduce the teaching profession to something so cheap that everyone can 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 are doing to solve this problem.
In conclusion, if the sectoral agreement proposals to be received in the coming days are not satisfactory and if the Ministry does not start to seriously mitigate the current shortage crisis without insulting the education profession, the MUT will be resorting to industrial action. Members will be informed about this shortly.