Professor of Maltese Arnold Cassola has accused the University of Malta of adopting a “kindergarten mentality” after it told faculties to send administrative staff to check up on lectures for the first two weeks of the year.
Cassola, who will be an independent candidate at the next election, published an email the Registrar sent faculty managers ahead of the new academic year to inform them of some new responsibilities.
Besides instructing them to inform students about the new ‘hybrid’ system, Registrar Colin Borg told faculty heads to send staff to check whether timetabled classes are being held as planned and without interruptions.
“The first few days are crucial and the presence of administrative staff will be of paramount importance to help academic staff and students,” he said. “This is not required at all times but at peak times and it will be only needed for the first two weeks.”
“The Office of the Registrar will be present too including myself. Please send a list of staff who will be checking the classes by today.”
“Malta’s University: a kindergarten mentality?” Cassola asked.
“The University Registrar has just sent out the following circular: with the excuse of Covid, members of the administrative staff are expected to be roving around what is left of the classrooms (those not turned into vaccination centres) to check on academics that lectures are being given.”
While the University of Malta will return to physical learning this year, courses with large numbers of students have been forced to adopt a ‘P+R’ (physical + remote) mode of lecturing, with classes split into two groups of students who will alternate between face-to-face and remote learning on a weekly basis.
Lecturers have been told to prioritise students who are physically present in the lecture hall, with the remote learners possibly not given the chance to ask questions or even look at the lecturer.
Do you agree with Arnold Cassola’s logic?