Updated 5.55pm with MUT statement below.

The Curia has drawn up a 'contingency plan' to cater for students and staff of St Albert the Great College within its educational structures if it is unable to function when the school year starts in the coming days.

The college has been mired in controversy ever since the Dominican Order, which runs the college, fired headmaster Mario Mallia.

Times of Malta reported at the beginning of this month that there had been a wave of resignations at the college. The Malta Union of Teachers had said that the college was operating without a licence because Mallia was the licence holder.

The Curia said on Thursday that its Secretariat for Catholic Education had over the past weeks been involved in talks to identify a way forward for all parties.

It expressed its disappointment that the issue had still not been resolved, days before the opening of the school year.

"The secretariat's primary aim is to see that talks are held between the Dominican Order and the MUT and that they reach a satisfactory conclusion. In the meantime, the secretariat has drawn up alternative plans in case the talks do not resume," the Curia said. 

The Curia recalled that during a recent meeting with the archbishop, parents expressed justifiable concern about the uncertainty they faced regarding the education of their children.

"The archbishop will honour his commitment to safeguarding the best interests of the students, who should always have top priority," the Curia said.

The curia thanked the education authorities, the secretariat, the Church Schools Association and the college of religious superiors for their cooperation. 

MUT insists that rector and college board must go

Meanwhile, the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) insisted that the college rector, board and the Dominican province could not blame teachers and their union for the crisis.

"It was clear from the onset, starting from the dismissal of the Head of School, that the college was taken over by an incompetent rector and board who took all actions to attack their employees and who declared a war against the union representing educators," it claimed in a statement. 

It said it had always stated that it would be collaborating with the Dominican Order towards the reopening and running of the school only when the board and rector resigned or were removed from office.

The union hit out at the rector and board for having "carried out a vile attack on their employees," in some cases resulting in staff resignations. 

It said that as a result of the situation, a number of parents had removed their children from the college and transferred them to other schools.

"The union was involved in several communications and meetings involving the Secretariat for Catholic Education, the Ministry for Education and recently the rector and his legal representative but the term repeated throughout by the rector and legal representative is that the union is sabotaging the school," the MUT said. 

It added that while the college was due to reopen next Monday, it still did not have a timetable, student allocation in different classes, options groups, LSE allocations and a myriad of other preparations necessary for the running of the scholastic year.

Furthermore, the school did not have an operating licence after it failed to obtain one"due to the poor administration and management".

 

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