Prime Minister Robert Abela has played down calls by a teacher’s union to shift education back to online learning in light of a number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at schools.
“I will act according to the directions provided by the education and health authorities,” Abela said, when asked by Lovin Malta about the call by the Union of Professional Educators (UPE).
“As a parent, I sent my daughter to school straight away and I sent her to school again today, because nothing substitutes the importance of being physically present in class.”
“We’re talking about the social and academic development of a generation here. Parents have been given a choice between physical and online [pre-recorded] learning, but as a parent of an eight-year-old, my choice was to send her to school.”
“The context is that no one knows how long COVID-19 will last… it could take weeks, months, or even longer; there’s no guarantee.”
The UPE, Malta’s minority teachers’ union, said today it is amazed that the Education Ministry hasn’t moved schools back online yet and urged it do so “while educators are still healthy and available”.
“If things continue as is, with numbers of educators already worryingly low, and with patchwork solutions being put in place to conceal the fact from the general public, the certainty that teachers are falling ill, and will continue falling ill, will only lead to one disastrous conclusion,” UPE executive head Graham Sansone said.
“Schools will inevitably close and there will not be enough educators to cater for the online learning we are proposing to have in place now.”