Recommendations not implemented: Unjust pegging of calls for teachers in private and church schools with those issued by the Ministry for Education

Pursuant to Article 22(4) of the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Education have forwarded the Final Opinion on a complaint to the House of Representatives. The complaint, lodged by two sixth-form teachers, addresses the unjust situation resulting from the pegging of calls for teachers in private and church schools with those issued by the Ministry for Education.

Summary of the Case

Two sixth-form teachers, currently employed at a church school, lodged a complaint with the Ombudsman. Despite having been in full-time teaching at a church school for several years, they are facing an issue due to an anomaly in the employment/recruitment system in Government schools for post-secondary and higher-level teachers. Their salary, funded by the Government through the Education Division at the Ministry responsible for Education (in line with Malta’s Agreement with the Holy See), remains pegged at the level of a supply graduate teacher, even though they effectively perform duties as regular teachers.

Following a thorough examination of the facts and the changes over time of the requirements for a teacher’s warrant, the Commissioner for Education has concluded that the aforementioned practice is unjust, verging on the oppressive with the passage of time.

The Commissioner recommended that calls for applications for the post of teacher in post-secondary education (i.e., post-compulsory education stage) should be separate and distinct from calls for the post of teacher in secondary education and should reflect the current law of not requiring a permanent teaching warrant. The Commissioner also recommended that the remuneration transferred by the Education Division within the Ministry to the school employing the complainants should, with immediate effect, reflect the salary commensurate with that of a regular teacher, not a supply teacher.

Outcome

The Ministry for Education was informed of the Final Opinion of the Commissioner for Education on 2nd February 2023. Despite a reminder being sent a month later, the Office of the Ombudsman has received no response.

The Ombudsman and the Commissioner brought the case to the Prime Minister’s attention on 28 March 2023. Since no action has been taken, the Ombudsman and the Commissioner forwarded the report to the House of Representatives for its attention.

Documents:

02.02.23 – Final Opinion

28.03.23 – Letter to the Prime Minister

11.05.23 – Letter to Mr Speaker

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