State schools have not yet shifted online because of teachers’ resistance, Education Minister Justyne Caruana said on Friday, as a teachers’ strike entered its second day.
The industrial action was called by the Malta Teachers’ Union after the government refused to move lessons online despite a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Caruana skirted questions by Times of Malta on whether schools had the necessary infrastructure in place to shift lessons online overnight, as has been the case at Church and independent schools.
Instead, she insisted that the government has an online system known as teleskola and has additionally set up a virtual school. However, she did not provide further details on the state’s remote learning capabilities.
According to the education department's website, teleskola.mt was built "to help parents, guardians, students and educators to easily find distance learning resources and lessons."
Answering questions about online teaching at secondary schools, Caruana said this depended on discussions with the MUT, which was "revising its position".
"Much depends on MUT members," she said. "The issue with secondary schools was being discussed with MUT, so it's not from our end," the minister said.
Times of Malta is informed some state schools cannot suddenly shift online because they do not have the necessary infrastructure in place.
Talks between the MUT and the Prime Minister on Thursday were inconclusive and should resume on Friday.
Answering questions about the teachers' strike on Thursday, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci told Times of Malta readers that her team had passed on information about new cases to the education authorities, who were the best placed to take decisions about teaching.
But on Friday Caruana also skirted questions about these “facts”.
She walked off saying she was late for a meeting with the union.