Evarist Bartolo: gender politics and the co-ed
Gender politics in Malta has never been so strong as it is today, and this is partly due to America’s interference in our home affairs. The Obama administration was not happy with Ambassador Kmiec for the simple reason that he was Catholic and was accused
Dr Simon Mercieca is senior lecturer, Department of History
Thus, he was replaced by Gina AbercrombieWinstanley. She was sent with the specific mission to foster and fuel gender politics in Malta. Immediately after taking over, Ms Abercombee used her position to wage war against Catholic culture in Malta and started giving her overt support to a gender agenda. She used her position to inflict political damage on the PN, considered too conservative on this matter, and she had no qualms in supporting Labour on the local political field. Unfortunately, instead of reacting and sending her packing back to where she came from, the PN ended up licking her boots in the most fetishist manner.
I would not say that Evarist Bartolo was one of the first to fall for the bait. He was already a convinced follower of this new religion that was coming out of the American Left. Both in his capacity as shadow Minister and then as Minister of Education, Evarist Bartolo pushed forcefully a gender agenda for education, hitting out at anything that was of a Christian content and supporting gender diversity. He is the best friend of the American Ambassador Abercombee. I have nothing against gender diversity per se, as long as it is not at the expense of others. Now this has gone too far and become a political tool.
The story that broke the camel’s back was the alleged assault on a girl by a group of boys at a co-ed government school in Ħamrun. The assault allegedly took place in front of the teacher, who did not lift a finger to stop it.
Those who have some knowledge of the educational system know about the problems surrounding this particular school. The mayhem in this school is not the result of having a mixed student population. It has been there for a while and is primarily related to the school’s catchment area and the college system. Though abuse can also take place in single-sex schools – and by abuse, I also mean that of a sexual nature – in areas afflicted with problems of a sexual nature, co-eds are destined to have a more difficult existence. Some teachers who used to teach in this particular area in Malta saw this coming. The reason is that certain areas in the south of Malta have a higher concentration of sexual abuse cases due to social reasons. This does not mean that there are not similar areas in other parts of Malta, but I am focusing on the south because of this case. Various teachers within San Ġorġ Preca College attempted to raise awareness with the Ministry of Education but no one wanted to listen. The Ministry’s gender agenda reigned supreme.
Evarist Bartolo was in favour of implementing co-education in state schools, saying it would help improve the talent pool among students! Co-education was first introduced as a pilot project for the Pembroke area. This was later denied by Mr. Bartolo who stated, “Pembroke was never a pilot project. We don’t experiment with children.” This statement confirms that the ‘pilot project’ was just an excuse. The Minister had already made up his mind to introduce co-education in all government secondary schools in Malta. In fact, four months into the 2013/2014 scholastic year, on 14 January 2014, by means of circular DES 03/2014, schools were informed that all Form 1s would be co-ed as from September 2014. I wish to state that MUT, which is normally in favour of gender politics, told the Minister not to rush with the introduction of the co-ed system. But our Marxist Minister of Education bulldozed all constructive criticism to please those pushing a particular gender agenda in Malta to the detriment of the traditional family, which is the only safeguard that the working classes have in this new neoliberal world.
Malta has its own peculiar geographical and demographical aspects and coed can work beautifully in some areas but fail in others. The coed system can work with some types of students coming from a particular social class but will not necessarily work in other areas where there is a concentration of a different type of social class. Education is not a case of one size fits all.
The problem lies in the fact that Bartolo was always prone to supporting this gender ideology. He was in favour of co-education for political and ideological reasons. He saw in all this a way of giving a helping hand in creating a secular state, which meant also the annihilation of our Christian or Catholic heritage in Malta from the public sphere. But this should not be the remit of the Minister of Education. The time of kulturkampf has been superseded by history. Now Mr Bartolo is caught in a tangled mess.
The teachers at this particular school, the former-Lyceum, are the ones who year in, year out top the list for those asking for deployment to other schools. The Minister of Education has the statistics at hand but as a true Marxist who believes in gender politics, ignored statistics as these contradict his agenda.
This proves that Minister Bartolo was wrong in introducing co-education without taking into consideration the geographical and demographic exigencies of the island. Problems of a sexual nature are higher in the catchment area of this school, which comprises Valletta, Floriana, Marsa and Ħamrun. Statistics appear to be on the low side where sexual crimes are concerned but perhaps this case can be an eye opener on why the figures are low. When the mother of this girl went to the police station to report the abuse, the police did not want to take note of it. This is extremely serious but again this reflects, in my opinion, the culture of omertà that reigns in this particular geographical area and why statistics can be misleading. One of the alleged perpetrators is already well-known to the police. Now, thanks to the legal reforms effected in 2014 to suit a gender agenda, it has become obvious that one of these boys cannot even be prosecuted in court. In such an atmosphere, who can blame those, who on the social media, insist that they would take the law into their own hands? If what has been reported is correct, we have a government system that is supporting abuse and in no way interested in improving the situation.
What is even more revealing are the comments being made on social media that teachers who have committed abuse are being shifted or moved from one school to another. In some cases, the allegations are that particular educationalists have received promotions in the name of gender diversity, and in the process, unpleasant stories were hidden from the public eye. Allowing for the fact that these claims are to be verified, I feel that there was no need for matters to be allowed to get out of hand in this sordid manner. It is to be hoped that what happened within the Catholic Church is not happening today in Malta for political expediency.
It should have been the Minister’s duty to investigate the fears of seasoned teachers immediately. Alarm bells are not rung for the kicks of things or for political mileage. Hiding behind the nonsensical statement “we do not experiment with children” is unacceptable. Clearly, what has been going on is that, at the cost of sacrificing our youngsters just into puberty, we are allowing these disgraceful goings-on in some of our schools, while playing for time so that the incidents are forgotten and buried under tonnes of paper work to safeguard the current political gender agenda at all costs, even at that of the upcoming generation!
The Malta Independent Monday 21 November 2016