With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully in sight, talk is now turning towards what kind of world we want to live in once it is all said and done.
However, a recent survey by the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) has revealed that teachers think many of the pandemic-inspired practices should be retained.
Out of the 328 educators that filled in the survey, an overwhelming 93% agreed that virtual schools for students with long-term illness should be continued.
Teachers also agree that online parents’ days are beneficial, as 81% said they are in favour.
The use of an online platform remains popular with 85% of teachers agreeing to continue using them. The same goes for staggered arrival and dismissal of students, to which 78% agree, as both traffic and overcrowding issues are reduced.
Other practices like requesting medical certificates certifying students are fit for school following sickness are also popular, as 85% of teachers agree to keep the measure.
They also support keeping recorded lessons on Teleskola as supplementary resources to students (84%) and the ‘grab and go’ breakfast for students attending Breakfast Club (72%).
The reduction of the number of students in the class is favoured, as 84% of educators think that groups in kindergarten should be single groups as opposed to double groups.
Other practices mentioned by educators that should be kept post-pandemic include hygiene practices and the use of technology – particularly for meetings and increased security.
On the other hand, teachers do not like including recorded lessons for optional subjects and a selection of subjects instead of lessons in person, as 68.8% think they should be discarded.
Other practices had mixed reactions, such as home-class grouping instead of sets in secondary schools, staggered breaks, and online records of student attendance for all lessons instead of in the morning only.
Educators also mentioned practices to be discarded once the pandemic is over, including the many COVID-19 restrictions, peripatetic teachers doing replacements, bare classrooms and non-compulsory schooling.
“Educators are often incorrectly portrayed as opposing and hostile to all changes, when this couldn’t be further from the truth. The results of surveys like this one show, in effect, that educators are open to changes if these are reasonable and right within their school’s circumstances and if educators are involved in these decisions”, MUT President Marco Bonnici said.
The outcomes of this survey will be taken into account when the MUT formulates its respective positions for prospective discussions with the Ministry for Education.