The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) has filed a formal complaint with Malta’s data protection commissioner over what it claims is a data breach by the Education Ministry.
In its complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner, the MUT said “the ministry should not have any access to personal mobile contacts of educators’ partners”.
The union said it was clear the ministry was in a state of panic and had resorted to calling teachers’ partners in order to inform them about last-minute changes.
State schools welcomed students back to their classrooms this moring in the midst of a dispute between the MUT and the Education Ministry over a shortage of teachers.
Over the past few days, the union has repeatedly called out the ministry over last-minute transfers and teachers being asked to teach subjects they aren’t qualified for. In some cases, students have been left stranded without teachers.
Peripatetic teachers, who teach specialised subjects such as arts and PE, have been asked to fill gaps as a result of a lack of teachers, meaning they would have to teach ordinary subjects they are not qualified for.
Part of the reason for the massive shortage of teachers are the COVID-19 regulations, which cause classes to split and pupils to be kept in bubbles to avoid mixing and being in large groups.
The unions have been vocal about the Ministry’s lack of preparedness, arguing that an agreement on teacher deployments last year was meant for that year only.
They ordered members of the unions impacted by the last-minute decision-making to ignore deployment calls by the Education directorate.
On Monday, the Ministry for Education filed a court injunction against the Malta Union of Teachers and the Union of Professional Educators, seeking to stop industrial action.
The Union of Professional Educators said that “this deployment exercise can only be seen as a large-scale babysitting operation to fill in the gaping holes that the Ministry (of Education) should have prevented if it had had the foresight to plan for such contingencies”.
It also asked how teachers could be expected to lead a class with no preparation whatsoever, having been deployed at the last minute.
As many teachers are considering handing in their resignation, which will cause Malta to have an “educational melt-down imminently”, it concluded.
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