The showdown between the government and the Malta Union of Teachers reminds us of the ongoing struggles faced by the teaching profession, brought to the public’s attention particularly with the agreement reached last year. This is the second showdown in t
Last year, teachers felt deceived by the conditions of the sectoral agreement worked out between the government and the MUT. A strike was only narrowly averted on the subject of salary increases. This week, the government again upset teachers by threatening their warrants. The need for continuous renewal worries politically minded teachers because of the potential for abuse in our little clientelistic country where having an opinion is easily punished.
As various administrations toy with the wellbeing of our teachers, let us consider the consequences on future generations. We must remind ourselves that the objective of the profession is to raise the citizens of tomorrow. If it suffers, we pay a hidden cost.
On so many key issues such as climate change, it is hoped that a better-informed and educated youth will take bolder steps to save the planet once that generation is in power. Yet, in Malta we are failing our teachers as we are failing our students. Educational reform is itself long overdue, as the system is not producing citizens so much as attempting to produce cogs that function well in a machine.
We require civic education so that students feel responsible for the wellbeing of the nation and the planet to the point that they will actively engage in its betterment. We require a sense of responsibility being fostered. That will not take place when citizens generally do not even know how our voting system works, or how our government is structured and what it does or why. It must become easy for our citizens to participate in our democracy.
Let us give educators and students what they need and set the groundwork for a Malta that has a healthier democracy, environment and a better future.