The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of the Workers has been following the developments in the situation which has arisen with peripatetic, nurture and complimentary teachers. Once again the Ministry of Education and its sidekick the MUT have acted, and determined from behind everyone’s backs, that these grades are to return to work in a regular classroom. The motivation given by the Ministry behind taking this action was that there are currently more than 80 teachers missing in the primary sector and consequently these educators are being expected to cover for these lacunae to cater for the exigencies of the service.
These exigencies would not have arisen had the Ministry and its accomplice in crime not failed the Educational sector multiple times in the past years, failing to attract professional educators into joining the workforce in this sector. The “historical agreement” signed by the Ministry and the MUT failed to ensure improved working conditions and this new signature, which yet again the UPE was not called on to visualise and contest, between the two parties is now going to burden our educators even further. The union is somehow not surprised that it was not called upon because it is not notoriously known as a group of “yes men” who would bow their heads in submission to anything dictated, and without posing any significant opposition. It must have been so much more convenient to have a union on board which just acquiesces to each and every whim the Ministry might present.
The Ministry and the MUT do not seem to be particularly concerned about the long-term effects of the decisions taken today. These peripatetic, nurture and complimentary teachers are now being put in a position where, despite their fields of expertise, and at very short notice, they have to prepare schemes of work and resources in subjects they have been absent from for years on end. Furthermore, the curriculum time which regular teachers where entitled to while these other professionals took over the classes, has now fallen into oblivion, with the obvious consequence of additional take-home workloads increasing exorbitantly. All of these educators have seen their work-life balance dashed before their eyes within minutes, putting them in an even more stressful predicament than they have been subjected to, to date.
Yet again, the supposed good intentions of the MUT, which should aim to safeguard educators and their well-being in the sector, especially during these exceptional times, have failed miserably. Educators have been betrayed again by a union whose sole interest is that of looking good before, and gaining brownie points with, a Ministry which places educators way outside its list of even the least significant priorities. Joining the UPE, which is currently the only one truly working in favour of educators, seems the only obvious and beneficial option at this point in time. The UPE is currently the only one opposing these wrong-doings and is truly striving to ensure that educators nationwide, as well as their families, are being safeguarded.
In the meantime, the UPE is aware that, with the MUT still holding sole recognition with the Ministry, this binding agreement is restricting the union’s actions significantly. The UPE, however, will not be sitting back and waiting for this blow to heal of its own accord and in its own time, but will be guiding its members to avail themselves of the best options the union will manage to have presented by the ministry.