A teachers' union has accused the Education Ministry's top official of doing his utmost to undermine union directives and named him as the recipient of a parody award. 

The Union of Professional Educators said Education Ministry permanent secretary Frank Fabri was a worthy inaugural winner of its Pudina [bread pudding] prize", as it accused him of "cynically" using student-teachers to cover up for ministry failings.

The university's Education Faculty dean confirmed this week that 10 student-teachers in their final study year have had their teaching practice shifted to a different school, as education authorities grapple to address a teacher shortage in primary schools. 

Education Ministry official Frank Fabri. Photo: Jonathan BorgEducation Ministry official Frank Fabri. Photo: Jonathan Borg

The ministry had initially resorted to assigning peripatetic teachers to these classes, but its plans were stopped in their tracks by UPE and fellow teachers' union the Malta Union of Teachers. 

A ministry bid to have union directives declared illegal was waved aside by the courts. 

On Wednesday, the UPE said that it has information that the reassignment of student-teachers is a stop-gap measure intended to tide classes over until the Christmas break. 

It claimed that the plan was to remove all COVID-19 restrictions in December, allowing schools to operate at pre-COVID levels as of January 2022.  

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