The Malta Union of Teachers has submitted a document with various comments in reaction to the proposed Education Act. The MUT noted that this draft legislation, in principle, reflects several of its proposals insofar as many of the Union’s suggestions were taken on board. Some issues, however, still remain of concern or the Union feels can be further improved. The full document is being issued here.
A case in point are the changes proposed to the Council for the Teaching Profession (CTP), where the Union has stated for many years that all professions and allied professions including Learning Support Assistants (LSAs) and Kindergarten Assistants (KGAs) should be covered by warrants or licenses to work with minors and it is finally being implemented. The MUT also notes and applauds the decision to give the final decision on warranting issues to the CTP, rather than the Minister, a move which reflects proper democratic credentials of such a structure. However the Union for example believes that the CTP should have access to the sex offenders register.
On the other hand, the MUT stated that it disagrees completely with the issue of licenses on an individual basis to State Schools. As things currently stand, Heads of School of State Schools cannot possibly be able to ensure that all the obligations to the license are observed at all times when a wide variety of decisions affecting schools are beyond their control.
With regards to homeschooling, the MUT stated that schools are not only centres for formal learning but are also places where children are exposed to vast amounts of informal and non formal education which are proven to be essential for any child’s development. Moreover, the Union is concerned about the teaching of subjects that may lead to extremism and fanaticism and about homeschooled children that might be isolated from the community with little or no protection from the possibility of abuse or neglect. The Union believes that he current setup where children are provided with home education if they cannot attend school due to serious medical or other reasons should be maintained.
The Union hopes that feedback from the on-going consultation will be properly considered by the authorities.