The Union of Professional Educators has been notified by Middle and Secondary School PSCD teachers that their lesson loads have been reduced by the school management to fill in the ever-growing need to replace lessons.
The pandemic has brought about a shortage of teachers resulting from sickness or mandatory quarantine. This has obviously been creating logistical issues for the school management who need to fill in free-period slots within the timetable.
The union understands that, under such circumstances, management is being left hard-pressed to resolve the inconvenience that this situation brings about with it, but one can hardly consider the above-mentioned ‘solution’ as being viable.
Primarily, students are missing out on PSCD lessons when such lessons are currently of utmost importance to counter the effects of mental health-related issues which the pandemic has been exacerbating. Our students’ mental health must be given priority during such difficult times, and the sessions delivered by PSCD teachers are essential in maintaining this balance.
The union has also been notified that since some PSCD teachers have had their loads reduced, they are being discriminated against when it comes to extra lessons over and above the established 25-lesson load. PSCD teachers who are in such situations are thus being required to cover many more lessons to reach the maximum load and are consequently being denied any extra remuneration, unlike what happens with their colleagues in other subjects.
The Union has notified the Ministry of Education to review this strategy and find an alternative solution, such as the employment of supervisors to fill when there is a shortage of educators available.