UPE directs members not to submit additional paperwork as requested

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Union of Professional Educators has directed its members not to submit schemes of work and to refrain from handing over any teaching resources after strongly objecting to an Education Ministry circular which, it said coerced “heavily burdened teachers… to accept even more work than they already have been doing.”

Education Minister Owen Bonnici took to Facebook to publicise a decision taken by a working group set up by the ministry, which includes representatives of state, church and independent schools as well as the Malta Union of Teachers.

Il-process ta' taghlim bil-mezzi online ghal uliedna u ulied uliedna rridu nkomplu mmexxuh 'il quddiem u ntejbuh dejjem…

Posted by Owen Bonnici on Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The UPE said that they “have, one more time, taken absurd decisions on behalf of teachers but behind their backs, and then presented the whole thing in a dictatorial fashion, which allows for no form of discussion or revision.”

Through the circular, teachers have been asked to send to their head of school “a copy of their scheme of work at the start of each month and a week by week record of work by the end of each respective month as adapted to the present situation.”

But the union noted that teachers had already submitted detailed schemes of work, only to be asked to submit an even more detailed scheme every month. It claimed that Bonnici, having no background in teaching, could not fully appreciate “the staggering amounts of work the educators have been putting into the education of our children.”

It pointed out that the minister himself highlighted that over 1,200 lessons were put up on Teleskola, saying that this number itself should have been an indication that one should not ask for more.

“Yet he has allowed pen-pushing officers who have been sitting behind a desk for years, and who are not in touch with the reality of day-to-day teaching, to steer him into increasing educators’ workloads to unfair levels,” the union said.

It thus insisted that its members should not submit any new or revised schemes of work and records of work for the third term, as they had already submitted them at the start of the scholastic year.

Additionally, UPE members should not hand over lesson plans or any teaching resources, “since these are their intellectual property.”

The union also questioned why the ministry has refused to invite it to participate in the decision-making process, stating that it was tempted to believe that it was because it did not “bow its head down in acquiescence to everything and anything it is instructed to do.”