Educators spend average of €220 yearly on work-related resources – MUT

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Educators spend average of €220 yearly on work-related resources - MUTAccording to a survey by the Malta Union of Teachers Youth Section, personal expenses incurred by educators amount to an average of €220 yearly, with some participants spending well over €1000 on resources required to carry out their profession.

The MUT said that the survey, entitled ‘The cost of teaching resources,’ was held in December 2014 to shed light on the financial costs incurred by educators in doing their work.

Information was collected through an online questionnaire aimed at Maltese educators and a total of 325 individuals participated in the survey.

Speaking during a press conference, MUT Youth Section Chairperson Gilbert Zahra stated that many participants argued that their place of work took no or very little measures to account for the expenses related to their work.

“A good number of schools seem to provide basic stationery and cardboard, though this is not always the case. Others allocate a number of photocopies to teachers.”

Zahra explained that, the majority of personal costs go for printing and photocopying; laminations; purchasing of books and resources; library (online or not) registrations; resources used to decorate classrooms; stationery, including ink cartridges; internet connection, sometimes including that in classrooms; computer hardware and its maintenance; educational games and toys; and student rewards such as stickers and small gifts.

Kindergarten Assistants and teachers in the early years were found to incur more costs than educators in the other sectors, he said.

According to Mr. Zahra “this study uncovers considerable deficiencies in our educational system. Educators should not be expected to pool out personal money to make up for these shortages. Employees need to be given adequate resources to work with and to further their professional development. We owe this, more than to the educators themselves, to future generations. Everyone deserves a quality education.”

During the conference, MUT Senior Vice President Mr. Marco Bonnici argued that the Union agrees with many of the respondents in that educators should be provided with a yearly grant from school funds that allows them to cover these expenses. “This could be in the form of a card to allow money to be spent on certain items.”

“The Union also believes that educators should be provided with a Work Resources Fund to cover the provision of hardware, software and maintenance of laptops and any other equipment deemed best for use in any particular class,” Bonnici said. “This would solve the issue of obsolete laptops, which is now a critical issue with many of them needing repair badly.”

“This issue has been dragging for too long and is hindering the performance of educators’ duties. And getting professionals new off-the-shelf laptops irrespective of the subject and level is not how things should be done. Educators are professionals who should be able to choose themselves what IT equipment and resources are best for their class and should be able to fix and upgrade their resources expediently with such a fund.”

In conclusion, the study however points “at the warm-heartedness of educators. Though many complained about the expenses they incur, they still choose to invest money to educate future generations.” On the other hand, another respondent noted, this is not always possible. “If the teacher is him/herself going through financial difficulties, there would be little he/she can do.”

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