The Union of Professional Educators (UPE) early this morning met with the Ministry of Education to discuss the current dire situation being faced by peripatetic teachers in state schools.
We can report that the MUT has reached ‘a deal’ with Ministry officials behind the backs of hundreds of Peripatetic Teachers. Let us be clear — since 2017, the MUT has been guilty of a number of acts of what can only be described as treachery. The result of the MUT’s kowtowing has been that many educators have left the sector in the intervening years. It is, therefore, disappointing but hardly unexpected or shocking that MUT did not seek the approval of its members and has remained silent on the issue.
There can be no real argument here. The blame for peripatetic teachers not being allowed to teach their specialised subjects rests primarily with the MUT, who has failed badly in protecting educators’ interests by being spineless and docile. Surely, if the MUT had fought on behalf of the profession’s interests, it would have spoken out. As the saying goes, the silence is deafening!
The UPE requested Permanent Secretary Dr. Frank Fabri to provide the exact number of teachers required to fill the massive gap in the educational system. Unfortunately, the Permanent Secretary was unable or unwilling to answer and spent most of the meeting circumventing our legitimate question and ultimately not even an approximate number was given.
The UPE made certain things immediately clear during the meeting:
- A fair distribution of Peripatetic Teachers needs to be carried out, and that any replacement lessons are to be equal and fairly distributed among the available pool.
- Seniority (based on years of service) needs to be respected at all times.
- Mentoring and guidance are to be given to Peripatetic Teachers during the coming year.
- Resources and schemes of work need to be facilitated by the school management to ease the pressure on Peripatetic Teachers.
- The Ministry is to avoid at all costs the placement of Peripatetic Teachers in Grade 6 classes due to benchmark examinations.
It was also stated by the Ministry that peripatetic services would not ‘cease completely’ but would be limited and priority would be given to replacement lessons. This is patently ‘double-speak’ for a move orchestrated by Ministry officials and the MUT that in effect means that lessons and resources prepared by Peripatetic Teachers will not to be delivered to their students. As we have consistently pointed out, the biggest casualty from the Ministry’s monumental mismanagement and the MUT’s disastrous duplicity is our students. For the second year running, our students will not be given the opportunity to have the full educational formation they are entitled to in the form of the specialised lessons and services offered by Peripatetic Teachers.
As we recently noted, sources inform us that a wave of teacher resignations is currently being faced by the Ministry. It is worth repeating that such an exodus rest firmly on the shoulders of the Ministry for its staggering incompetence and lack of foresight as well as the numerous acts of betrayal and subterfuge perpetrated by the MUT on members of the teaching profession.