An inquiry into the allegation that the marks given to absent students by teachers were changed by the Education Ministry has found no foul play with concerns being raised about the Malta Union of Teachers about the inquiry’s impartiality.
The inquiry, led by retired judge and former Labour MP Philip Sciberras, was ordered by the Education Ministry following claims by the union last July, that students who had not attended the scholastic year had obtained full marks in their exams.
The union had claimed that the marks originally given to the secondary school year 11 students by their teachers had been changed by officials at the Education Department.
According to the inquiry’s findings, the process through which students were graded had been made public in three circulars sent out by the authorities, adding that the system had been introduced to ensure that students who could not attend school because of the COVID-19 pandemic could obtain a school certificate.
Testifying before the inquiry, MUT president Marco Bonnici stressed that the union had not been informed about the system.
Reacting to the inquiry’s publication, the union said that the report confirmed that the grades assigned to students by their teachers had been changed. The report also confirmed that this had happened without the union being consulted, the union said.
“The MUT also has serious reservations about the objectivity of the inquiry, given that the union was forced to, on a number of occasions, object to one member of the board as well as the way in which the proceedings were being led, including when a high-ranking ministry official acted as board secretary,” the union said.
The union added that the fact that the inquiry had made nine recommendations shows that the MUT’s scrutiny of the ministry was justified.
Among these recommendations was for ‘projected marks’ like those assigned in this case, should be clearly marked as such on the particular student’s report card, among others.
“The fact that the board still found issues to raise shows the situation the ministry finds itself in and that the MUT is right to object to the way in which certain things are done,” the union said.
“The MUT expects teachers’ work to be taken more seriously and for them to be treated like the professionals that they are.”
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