MCAST Clears The Air On Stipend Controversy Ahead Of Lecturers' Strike
'We are being held at ransom'
As MCAST lecturers prepare for another strike this Thursday and Friday and following directives by the Malta Union of Teachers, several students were worried that the newest directives could lead to a loss or reduction in their stipend.
This comes after student representatives in each class were instructed to takeover the filling-in of the attendance sheets of their classrooms following an MUT directive for lecturers to stop taking the class attendance themselves.
However, MCAST Director of Communications Pablo Micallef said that this was not going to affect student's stipends.
"The MUT have put out a directive for the attendance sheets in class not to be filled in by teachers, so our alternative was to have the students take the attendance themselves so we could have an idea of who attended," he told Lovin Malta. "There's a student representative in each class and we fully trust the representative to take down attendance."
As opposed to students losing their stipends, this was a way of "ensuring that the students are paid. This is specifically to make sure there is no lessening of the stipend. If the MUT had their way, everyone would have lost their stipends because there wouldn't be any attendance at all," he said.
"We’re assessing the situation and awaiting the answers from the MUT, but as long as they go ahead with strike we can't really negotiate. We are being held at ransom at this stage," he said.
Negotiations between the MCAST authorities and the MUT have been ongoing for months now, with students bearing the brunt of the fallout while teachers attempt to raise the standards of their work conditions.
With teachers being directed to give as little support as they can to students in a bid to apply pressure to MCAST authorities, many students are worried about the quality of education they are used as fodder in the midst of this longstanding impasse.