Directives would be issued if the government failed to give 247 educators a laptop “immediately”, their union warned.

The figure was given by Education Minister Evarist Bartolo when replying to a parliamentary question tabled by Nationalist MP Ryan Callus.

In September, the ministry told teachers there is no indication when laptops will be distributed – MUT head.In September, the ministry told teachers there is no indication when laptops will be distributed – MUT head.

Contacted by Times of Malta, the president of the Malta Union of Teachers, Marco Bonnici, said that they had been in touch with the government since September when they were informed by members that newly-engaged educators were not supplied with laptops.

“In September, the ministry was also telling the teachers there is no indication when laptops will be distributed,” Mr Bonnici said.

“It is true that the MUT has a scheduled meeting with the ministry on the matter but if the issue is not resolved immediately, the union will have no other option but to issue directives to members who have not been provided with this essential tool as stipulated in respective agreements between the MUT and the Education Ministry,” he added.

It was “unacceptable” that educators were being denied such basic tools, Mr Bonnici continued, pointing out that the number of new teachers would be known in advance and procurement plans could be made accordingly.

The issue would be discussed “in a wider context” at a meeting between the union and the government, Mr Bartolo said.

Millions of euros were invested in the education sector in recent years to ensure classrooms are equipped with centralised systems enabling educators to give interactive lessons using state-of-the-art equipment, including interactive whiteboards and 3D printers.

Unacceptable that educators were being denied such basic tools

In 2017, the government had invested about €15.4 million to provide all teaching staff, including learning support assistants and kindergarten assistants, with laptops.

The MUT said last year that about 100 teachers had still not been given a laptop, weeks after the start of the school year. At the time, the ministry had downplayed the issue, saying only a small number of educators were impacted by the shortage.