Following questions by the Times of Malta, The Malta Union of Teachers gave the following comments on the topic of neglect and malnutrition in schools:
“Unfortunately educators are being faced with difficult situations where some parents are not only uninterested in their children’s education but they do not even care about basic necessities such as personal hygiene and nutrition. Cases of neglect are common in most schools and many teachers can identify a number of students with such issues.
Educators have approached the MUT in instances where they see students who do not have food to eat during breaks, students who are not clean and others who do not sleep enough. Some teachers end up buying things out of their own pockets, including lunches, to these children who would otherwise end up hungry all day. Some even resort to keep regular food, such as fruit and crackers, in their desk drawer so that children without food can at least have something to eat. Authorities have been notified as per procedures in cases of abuse – because neglect is a form of abuse – but the MUT is informed that social welfare services authorities are inundated with cases and they end up prioritizing cases with other forms of abuse, such as sexual and physical abuse.
The Malta Union of Teachers has been adamant for many years that the education system alone is not enough to educate children. In this sense, more investment and strategies need to be placed and designed on the role of families and society at large in educating children. The MUT has quoted many times in the past various research studies that up to 70% of child formation comes from informal and non formal learning that children are exposed to at homes and within their communities. If this 70% is not being addressed properly, the education system will never be able to address a variety of issues, including for example early school leaving.”
The full report on The Times of Malta can be accessed HERE.