The teachers' strike may have been called off but there are still clauses in the controversial bills that precipitated the crisis that need to be hammered out.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo told parliament on Monday that discussions continued to find a compromise with the Malta Union of Teachers.

The Education Act and two other controversial bills were officially withdrawn on Monday from the agenda of the House of Representatives.

Mr Bartolo called “unacceptable” the “racist overtones” of remarks made by Opposition Leader Adrian Delia. On Sunday, the Opposition Leader had questioned whether Maltese children would be taught by “Pakistanis and Bangladeshis”. 

In response, the minister said that he had a list of 96 places from where he wished to source teachers. He went on to read out a list of Maltese towns and villages.

The minister also condemned “disparaging” comments made against the teaching profession on social media.

Opposition MP Clyde Puli called the withdrawal of three bills an “unprecedented” effect of the government’s hardheadedness, but Mr Bartolo questioned the objections raised against the Education Bill and associated bills. He asserted once again that the tabled amendments sought to diminish, and not enhance, his personal power as minister, as they would remove his ability to issue warrants at will. This amendment, he said, had met with the union’s approval.

Mr Puli had said that the events surrounding the proposed legislation had placed the teaching profession “under siege,” with teachers blamed for the problems caused by the “useless” amendments.

In response to a question posed by Opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg, the minister also clarified that the only way to obtain a permanent teacher’s warrant would be to pursue masters-level studies.

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