The English metaphor “Carrot and the stick” may sometimes reflect the way the Maltese Education system deals with Educators. The metaphor depicts a cart driver who encourages his horse to move, by dangling a carrot in front of whilst smacking it on the rear with a stick.
One does not need to specify who the cart driver is but we all know how Educators have been treated over the years by the system.
The Union of Professional Educators – Voice of The Workers feels that Educators are only beginning to experience the smacking that the new sectoral agreement will bring while the new grade of LSE 3 dangles in front of LSE’s. The opportunity for LSE’s to progress in the public sector is offered but at what price? The pay rise is poor to say the least and the motivation low since all grades, the existing ones and the new will have the same job description.
Members have expressed their worries and are not only concerned about the pay rise but also on where this particular grade will lead. The public sector agreement stipulates that LSE 3’s will be in a position to advance to the grade of HOD in Inclusion, but our Union is raising some concerns about this.
The Union notes that by changing the title of the post once known as INCO to HOD in Inclusion, a rift among the current HOD’s and the new HOD’s will develop since the new HOD’s will be shared among different schools and thus not have the responsibility of a particular student, whilst HOD’s in other subjects have both class duties and school visits to do, the latter dealing both with their particular subject and mentoring of Teachers of other subjects and in different colleges from their own.
And we all ask if all those LSE’ s interested in pursuing the Degree Course for LSE 3 will apply for the post of HOD in Inclusion, will they find a place? Another promise which is far from reality since a very limited number are needed for the system to work.
Another path being offered to LSE 3’s is that of breaking their service for 2 years to pursue a full-time Masters in Teaching and Learning (MTL). Many of our members are disappointed with this because this option is not very family friendly since not many can stop working for two years. Masters Certificate holders will only be able to work in Primary schools.
It is no secret that the Education System has a shortage of Teachers. Are these so called new openings for LSE’s going to influence this crisis? The Teaching Profession has only attracted a few MTL students and none chose subjects like Physics, I.C.T. and Biology whilst only two students graduated in Mathematics and Chemistry respectively.
Since the last sectoral agreement, despite the hype, failed to cater for the Teacher Shortage and to provide adequate improvements for the current Educators to feel empowered to stay in their Profession. The Union is encouraging all stakeholders to rethink possible strategies and avoid closing opportunities or loosing even more valid Educators.
Let us remember that carrots are only one food item amongst many and need not please all, and yet all need to eat like all need to learn