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After Eight Staff Members Resign, St Albert The Great Educators Open Up On ‘Summer Of Pain’

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Educators and staff members from the St Albert The Great College in Valletta have opened up about their current situation, expressing their anger and disappointment.

It all came toppling down for these educators when the school board and rector Fr. Aaron Zahra decided to dismiss former headmaster Mario Mallia, who served in his position for 16 years.

Lovin Malta spoke to around 15 educators who are all currently in the same boat, as the commencement of the new scholastic year gets closer – and with it, the uncertainty grows. 

“It’s an excruciatingly frustrating situation and it’s scary too. Life, as we knew it at the college, has completely disappeared. Apart from not having Mr Mallia as our headmaster, we’ve also lost eight members of staff so far, including two pivotal members of the SLT and a key member of the administrative staff,” one educator told Lovin Malta. 

“These people were so much more than their roles and that is why it has been so hard watching them move on. The Dominican Province needs to take responsibility and make the right decision by resigning.”

They also explained how they have been left completely in the dark by those who fired him, and the decision is still unclear. 

“We were never approached, we were never asked about how we feel and what we made of the situation.”

“I am ready to walk into the classroom and welcome my students, but I am not ready to work with the people who have caused us (staff, parents and students) so much pain this summer.”

Another educator explained how the board is displaying “complete incompetence” in managing the situation, adding that “they are actually making it worse”. 

“Because of their actions we lost valuable staff a few days before the scholastic year started. Now, logistically the school cannot even function properly. Who will teach the students in a few days time given that educators are leaving St. Albert on a daily basis?”

They also claimed that calls to include a trusted third party in the discussion have been widely ignored by the board.

“The request from the staff’s end to mediate, to try and bridge our differences using a trusted third party like the Archbishop were, and still are totally being ignored.”

“Why do they have a problem to have the Archbishop as a mediator? If they have a problem with the Archbishop, why is it that they still refused mediation using another trusted third party? Communication is non-existent.”

One other educator also stated that the board has no idea what education really means or what the college stands for.

“We are educators. The people who brought us to this sorry situation clearly have a very limited idea of what education really is. The things they have said and the way they have treated us show that the only educational philosophy they hold is that children are empty vessels waiting for the all-knowing to pour the right knowledge into them.”

“Even more worryingly, the board and Rector have no clue of what running a school really entails. How can one justify treating educators – the very backbone of the institution you are trying to run – without any sign of respect?” they said. 

Another explained how it was not just Mallia who was dismissed, but a series of positive qualities left with him too.

“It wasn’t just Mallia who was brutally dismissed; with him, compassion, humanity, transparency, inclusivity, trust and the wonderful sense of community were also kicked away. As staff we are left in shambles suffering from rootless legal actions, toxic tactics which are dividing the staff,” they said. 

Many mentioned the same emotions in wake of this situation; sad, demotivated, depressed, anxious, worried and tired. 

“We are all angry, angry at the Rector and the board who made this decision; we are all anxious, how can we deliver lessons and communicate with parents when we believe our jobs are in jeopardy? They fired Mallia, and they could easily fire us as well! I’m tired and demotivated,” one stated. 

And the educators did not fall short of pointing out the sheer hypocrisy that the Dominican order has continued to display.

“Two months after what happened and I still cannot process how a small group of people have managed to completely destroy our loving community. I would have never expected such manipulation, lies and atrocious behaviour from a religious order that should be there to help, inspire and educate,” they said. 

“Throughout these two months, they have proven over and over that they don’t care about the students nor their parents or guardians let alone about us educators. This is not the church I want to believe in.”

They also addressed the inclusive nature that Mallia brought into the school and lamented how the board is only introducing divisiveness in their approach.

Educators from the college have continued to call for the resignation of the board, with the MUT stating earlier today that it has complete mistrust in the way the personnel is being handled by the same board.

Lovin Malta had sat down with Mallia shortly after his dismissal:

What do you make of these educators’ reality? 

READ NEXT: MHRA: 'Valletta Is Becoming Too Loud, Not Fitting As High-End Destination'

Sasha is interested in investigating environmental matters, humans and art. Some know her as Sasha tas-Sigar. Inspired by nature and the changing world. Follow her on Instagram at @saaxhaa and send her your stories at [email protected]

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