Survey shows educators are against children returning to classroom – UPE

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A survey carried out by the Union of Professional Educators shows that 87% of the respondents said that they do not want to physically return to the classroom in September if the situation is not brought under control.

The union carried out a survey among 1,285 educators.

When the coronavirus epidemic first broke out in Malta, schools went online to safeguard both educators, students and their families. Education Minister Owen Bonnici had stated that government is committed to the re-opening of schools on 28 September, when replying to Opposition MP David Thake. Bonnici said that the new day of the scholastic year would be a ‘normal’ one where all necessary precautions will be taken.

The UPE came out against the physical return of children to classrooms when schools re-open in September. The union proposed that the Education Ministry creates a mechanism by which students are given online lessons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past month, the number of active cases have surpassed the 500 mark after days the country was registering single digits.

Replying to the survey, 82% of the respondents said that they did not want direct contact with children, fearing that they would contract the virus. 92% said that they do not trust the health ad safety protocols adopted by the government.

The union has proposed that educators would give online classes from school to students at home. It added that vulnerable educators and educators who have vulnerable family members should be allowed to work from home.

The union is mulling industrial actions as the government is expected to forge ahead with the re-opening of schools, saying that it had not consulted with the union on the current health situation.

During a press conference, UPE head Graham Sansone stressed that the industrial actions were not wanted but needed, saying that the education minister chose to ignore the union’s proposals.

He added that the educators’ union was not invited to participate in the government’s working group.

Sansone acknowledged the students’ needs to socialize with their classmates, however, he noted that there is a fine line between the economy and health.

On Friday, Malta registered its tenth coronavirus-related death. The current number of active cases stands at 682.

If you want to be the first to receive the latest news on the coronavirus in Malta, download the Newsbook APP here.