The salary of teachers in Malta is at the same level as that of teachers in Italy and France
The Minister for Education, Evarist Bartolo, has announced there are 150 students at University studying to become teachers and graduate at Masters level.
Minister Bartolo was speaking in Parliament while introducing the second reading of the Amendment of the Education Act.
He said the number of students following the course is double that over last year. The Minister said endeavours are ongoing to improve teaching conditions and stated that on average, the salaries of Maltese teachers are the same as that of teachers in Italy and France and much better than that of teachers in Greece who have an annual salary of €13,000.
He said that teachers in Bulgaria are paid €5,000 annually while teachers in Luxembourg receive €60,000 annually.
Teachers in Malta have a salary of €22,600 together with allowances and other increases.
Minister Bartolo said in the EU and throughout the world there is a serious shortage of teachers. In fact there is an acute shortage of teachers in 74 out of 200 countries.
Regarding the Amendment to the Education Act, the Minister said this includes an increase in fines for parents not sending children to school and not observing an order by the Commissioner for Justice in cases of absenteeism and the Board for Educational Affairs will decide on disputes in cases where separated parents do not agree on the educational interests of their children.
He said it is also proposed that there will be increased fines for threats and acts of violence against teachers and other persons involved in schools, even those giving voluntary services. The fines will range from €800 to €5,000 according to a clause suggested by the Malta Union of Teachers.
Opposition Spokesperson Clyde Puli said the Amendment does not cause conflicts but it has to be seen that problems do not occur in the enforcements proposed. He said there are governance problems in schools and the education division.
MP Puli said the educational system has remained centralised and he asked whether perhaps the time has come to stop with further reforms so as to reflect on the success or failures of reforms. He said teachers are suffering from ”reform fatigue” with last year having registered as the year in which the greatest number of teachers left the profession.
He also mentioned that the schools at Qawra, Msida and at Rabat in Gozo have not yet been completed.