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

Malta Independent - - SIMON ON MONDAY -

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

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