The view of a former educator : the Maltese children who work longer hours than some adults

The issue of too much homework was brought up many times in the past but the Church and State, that ran most schools in Malta, as well as the PN education ministry never got to grips with the problem. Finally, we have a government that is listening, and plans to ease the burden.
Children who are at bus stops at 0630 in the morning should not be still doing homework 12 hours later, but this is the reality for many families. This problem exists in primary schools, secondary schools and even universities.
Maltese parents want their children to learn, but not become exhausted. There is no need for hours and hours of repetitive writing down of information.The curriculum is too vast. Some repeating of information may be needed but what has been happening for over the past thirty years is not good for the health of children, does not produce enough independent thinking, and causes huge stress for children, parents and teachers too.
 
As an alternative, a teacher could give a 20 minute lesson, then set some work to test the children there and then followed by a reminder a week later.
Maltese children shouldn’t work longer hours than adults. And there is no union to counter this. If any worker was paid for a 40 hour week and told to do another 3 to 4 hours daily there would be a national strike. Children can’t strike so are made to work too hard, both this is to their detriment and to that of families and the country as a whole.
 
Anyone big hearted will be happy to know the government of Malta is finally tackling this. I  think no young child should work more than 6 hours a day. Let children do homework in school hours. If there is the will, this can be achieved.

Imagine …

If I (or Tony Zarb for example) did this to the likes of Petra Caruana Dingli, Kristina Chetcuti or Caroline Muscat

Ajma hej. Ħoll xagħrek u ġib iż-żejt.  Mata kienet tixgħel b iskandlu, xemghat kullimkien.
Timmaġinaw x’kien jinqala’?
Not only would Malta have run out of candles and tents ruħi,  the European Union would be working overtime calling for inquiries and investigations – this is exactly the sort of culture and attitude that lets other people think they can take the law into their hands.
Andrew Borg Cardona believes in freedom of expression  – his own and Daphne Caruana Galizia’s.
Anything which stands in the way it is rubbish and can be rubbished.   Look what he did to Claire Bonello and Michela Spiteris pieces in last Sunday’s Times of Malta.
He defaced them and removed all traces of their name and picture.
Has someone reported this to the EU yet? Do the MEPs know about this?
Is it possible that there isn’t a single male or female from the Civil Society Network or Occupy Justice or whatever they call themselves who feels outraged at the sight of this? Not one?  Isn’t this undemocratic, misogynistic and unacceptable?
Come on you people – have you lost your fight or is it only  the Daphne Caruana Galizia’s (and friends)  battles that you will fight?

Unbelievable … for all the wrong reasons

The new PN Deputy Leader, (did you know PN had a new Deputy Leader for Party Affairs?)  has recently expressed his disbelief on Twitter.  And no, not because of Edwin Vassallo’s action a few hours earlier but because his forthcoming 6th of February coffee morning is fully booked.
Can you believe that?
One of the Party’s MPs, Edwin Vassallo had just voted AGAINST a bill that will give more rights and protection to victims of domestic violence. Even more incredulous  is that he did so after receiving the Party leaders’ blessing – i.e. after being given the go ahead by Adrian Delia himself!.  But this does not seem to be a cause for worry.
If they cannot unite to support such an uncontroversial bill, how on earth are they going to come together as one over anything else?   Still, as long as the coffee morning is fully booked everything in the Nationalist Party is hunkydory.

L-anqas numru ta’ nies jirreġistraw fl-istorja ta’ pajjiżna

F’Diċembru li għadda, in-numru ta’ persuni fuq ir-reġistru tal-qgħad kien 2,167. Dan huwa l-inqas ammont ta’ nies jirreġistraw mindu bdew jinġabru dawn il-figuri fis-snin sittin.

Imqabbel ma’ sena ilu, il-qgħad naqas b’745 persuna, filwaqt li meta mqabbel ma’ Marzu 2013 in-numru ta’ nies jirreġistraw huwa 5,183 inqas. Dan ifisser li n-numru ta’ dawk jirreġistraw illum huwa inqas minn terz ta’ dak li kien fi żmien il-bidla fil-Gvern fl-2013.

Mill-bidla fil-Gvern, bħala medja, kull jumejn sitt persuni li kienu qegħda sabu xogħol. B’kuntrast, matul il-ħames snin tal-Gvern preċedenti, bħala medja, kull jumejn persuna iktar kienet tispiċċa tirreġistra.

It-tnaqqis qawwi fil-qgħad qed jinħass l-iktar fost iż-żgħażagħ. F’din il-kategorija kien hemm tnaqqis ta’ 1,029 persuna qegħda mill-bidla fil-Gvern fl-2013. Miżuri bħall-garanzija għaż-żgħażagħ sa issa naqset in-numru ta’ żgħażagħ jirreġistraw bi kważi 82%.

Mill-bidla fl-amministrazzjoni kien hem ukoll tnaqqis ta’ 1,912 persuna f’dawk qegħda fl-età ta’ 45 sena jew iktar.

Anke f’Għawdex, f’Diċembru, l-ammont ta’ nies ifittxu impjieg kien l-inqas fl-istorja, bi tnaqqis ta’ 52% fuq l-2013.

Kategoriji oħra meqjusa f’riskju soċjali wkoll urew titjib. Fost persuni li ilhom jirreġistraw għal iktar minn sena kien hemm tnaqqis ta’ 1,686 mill-bidla fil-Gvern. Dan kien frott miżuri biex dawk l-iktar esklużi mis-suq tax-xogħol jingħataw opportunitajiet ġodda biex itejbu l-livell ta’ għejxien tagħhom u jintegraw mill-ġdid.

Suċċess ieħor li nkiseb kien fost il-persuni b’diżabilità bla impjieg. F’Diċembru dawn naqsu għal 282 minn 564 qabel il-bidla fil-Gvern fl-2013. Dan it-tnaqqis bin-nofs seħħ bis-saħħa ta’ miżuri ta’ inklużjoni u l-infurzar ta’ liġjiiet favur persuni b’diżabbilità.

Qabel il-bidla fil-Gvern, 7,350 persuna f’pajjiżna kienu bla xogħol, żieda ta’ kważi elf persuna f’ħames snin.

Il-fatt li sa issa n-numru ta’ dawk jirreġistraw waqa għal inqas minn terz ta’ dak li kien fil-bidu tal-2013 huwa l-aqwa ċertifikat li Malta għandha ekonomija fejn il-ġid qed dejjem jasal għand iktar nies, speċjalment dawk l-aktar vulnerabbli.

David Casa wakes from his slumber

Having had very little to say for the past four years, David Casa has suddenly found his voice as a champion against corruption.
He says he has a leaked report from the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit and will publish it even if this means breaking the law and being sentenced to prison.
But the FIAU says David Casa doesn’t have a finalised report.  The existence of a reference number is neither evidence, nor even indicative that a report is complete. Every intelligence record of the FIAU is assigned with a reference number irrespective of the status or outcome of analysis.
This wasn’t what David Casa wanted to hear. It gets in the way of his attempt to achieve martyr status.
No doubt he’ll carry on making noise and threats. But the European elections are still more than a year away. If he keeps this up for the next 16 months it will feel like a prison sentence for all of us.

Well done Sara

It was positive to read of Forbes recognition of a young Maltese woman Sara Ezabe who set up her own group to battle the discrimination she experienced because of  wearing a headscarf.

What was less edifying was the anti Labour trolls commenting in full force on The Times. Where else can they go?

Don’t these people see the irony of praising a young woman who fights discrimination against her because she wears a headscarf, while at the same time showering The Times comments board with nothing short of racism against Labour voters, supporters, and MPs?

Guest Post: Malta is doing well

My wife and I have just decided to make Malta our home and as we are Labour supporters. I looked far and wide for something in English which was our kind of read. My wife hates reading news. She says “it’s all bad.”
I quite liked Malta Today. It seemed reasonable, most of the time, but The Times and Independent are as biased, we think, as the worst of the right wing press in England, if not more so, and that is not our cup of tea at all.

Our health care is really suffering at our other home in England. My son had to go into Kings Cross with the flu and the media was correct in saying people were in cupboards. It was awful and frightening and no better for our daughter who lives in the west country. Here you still seem blessed with top healthcare, especially considering it is free like our beloved NHS.

The other thing I found unfair and unbalanced was the strong language on corruption with everything the Labour party does. In England, with a Tory government, we have the Carillion collapse and so far at least language is more moderate. And jobs are being lost, maybe thousands so it is very serious indeed.The Mirror which is not exactly pro Teresa May did not imply Downing Street was making a cut.. I find the tone of the right wing media here hysterical. Even worse than ours and that is something.

Otherwise we love it and are very grateful for health care which seems better funded than our own as well as the free schooling and University should our grandchildren join us. At least until Brexit. We also went to V18 opening and loved it all. Thank you Malta. I do hope for a Maltese “Mirror” one day. Its a pity most of the newspapers in English here are so one sided, but then in life you can never have everything.

If Malta isn’t a normal country, what’s the PN?

Think of a normal EU country where the leader of one of the main political parties can get away with not paying his tax due for 2015, and even get into politics as a career. Much less lead a political party. Last year he said that by the end of the year (2017) he will settle his pending tax bill.

It is now evident that he did not and yesterday he told the press that the issue will be settled in the coming weeks. If he didn’t settle it in few months, how the hell will we believe he will settle it in few weeks time?

The party Delia leads is not a “normal” political party with EU standards. This much is obvious. How can Malta be a “normal” EU country with such a discredited Opposition?

As they say rather more rudely in Maltese, this is barefaced cheek.

Delia is not even sorry about delaying on anything is he? No hurry to pay his taxes and no hurry to appoint his own shadow cabinet. In his opinion Simon’s shadow cabinet is doing its job. Yeah! Then why was the shadow minister for Gozo absent from a House debate on Gozo?

Also, since the resignation of Jean Pierre Debono to make way for Adrian Delia, the Opposition has no energy spokesman. That’s how normal the situation is within the PN. Good for them.

The state of PN

Simon Busuttil has been jumping up and down in Parliament putting many questions to Ministers. This is normal behaviour for the Leader of the Opposition. Except, of course, he isn’t the Leader of the Opposition. Adrian Delia is.

Any other politician who led his party to a devastating electoral defeat might retire quietly, with as much dignity as they could muster, but not Simon.

Is he deliberately undermining Adrian by stealing the limelight? Maybe he thinks Adrian isn’t up to it. After all, this wouldn’t be the first time a PN politician had acted with arrogance or turned on a colleague.

Let’s be charitable and just say Simon is helping Adrian by filling the gap while Adrian is busy trying to sort out his tax affairs. Don’t forget that Adrian didn’t pay tax for a number of years and admitted owing thousands of euros to the Inland Revenue. Has he now paid up? Can he produce a receipt? These are valid questions. Maybe Simon would like to ask them in Parliament.

Or we could look to PN’s communications chief, David Bonello, for answers but that would be a waste of time. He’s walked out after only two months in the job. This is a better farce that anything ever staged at the Manoel Theatre.

Monumental silliness

There’s a good atmosphere in the streets of Valletta with artists entertaining locals and visitors alike in a celebration of the capital of culture of Europe 2018. But what should we make of monuments being dressed in t-shirts? This isn’t culture, it’s protest art. It is a protest against the murder of Daphne Carauna Galizia. It’s not that different from graffiti. It might be art to some but is vandalism to many.

The message plastered on Queen Victoria and the like that even the dead are “watching” the Prime Minister is juvenile in the extreme. Freedom of expression is one thing, but being plain silly is another.

One of the women behind this, Kristina Chetcuti, knows only too well that candidates for Prime Minister face enormous scrutiny. They need to earn the trust of the people.

In the general election last year the electorate heard countless allegations of corruption against Labour and they rejected them as nonsense. T-shirts on statues is just more of this nonsense

The silent whistleblower

The former investigator Jonathan Ferris has had a great deal to say to the media, giving countless interviews, but has suddenly gone very quiet.
As he sought protection under the Whistleblower Act he was asked to disclose what he knew, and that’s when he clammed up.  Whistleblower protection only makes sense if the person doing the whistleblowing discloses what he knows.
That’s the law that Parliament passed, and that’s how it has been enacted. The Opposition, including Mr Ferris’s lawyer Jason Azzopardi voted in favour of the Whistleblower Act.
Mr Ferris has gone to court over this. It keeps him prominent in the media, but what else will it achieve?
The government reacted to Mr Ferris’s request stating that Whistleblower protection is provided according to established procedure emanating from the legislation agreed upon unanimously by both Government and Opposition in Parliament. This procedure has been adopted in all requests brought forward, including that lodged by Mr. Jonathan Ferris.

The whole concept of whistleblower protection is based on the fact that the person who claims to be a whistleblower makes a disclosure.

There cannot be a whistleblower without a disclosure and one certainly cannot demand whistleblower protection without revealing what one has to disclose even if this is done confidentially to the whistleblower reporting unit or officer. The Protection of the Whistleblower Act provides for this.

The cases concerning the tampering of electricity meters mentioned by Mr. Ferris had nothing to do with the Protection of the Whistleblower Act but the certificates of immunity from proceedings in those cases were issued under the Permanent Commission Against Corruption Act upon the recommendation of the Commissioner of Police and after the persons concerned had made statements to the Police.

The Attorney General has nothing to do with initial reception of disclosures under the Protection of the Whistleblower Act and Mr. Ferris’ claim that he is being discriminated against by the Attorney General are outright calumnious.

The new enemy: Hairdressers

On one Sunday morning Adrian Delia PN might have managed to lose the votes of Malta’s hairdressers. How? He suggested they were totally unsuited to looking after sick children. He evoked the days of Malta losing its children to pirates while claiming that PN is a positive party and a strong opposition!

One of the most significant measures, introduced by a Labour government, to help families has been universal free childcare. Hardly anywhere else in the world has this. But that doesn’t mean nurseries are the place for sick children who are contagious. That’s not the way to curtail a flu outbreak.

The mock outrage from a PN who in 25 years of government never gave Malta free and universal childcare is a joke.

Adrian Delia’s wife told him people were complaining about the lack of options for where they could leave their sick children. That is legitimate. But instead of saying “Let’s come up with a proposal and discuss with Government” he denigrated hairdressers and other kind people who come to the rescue when parents have to juggle work commitments and the need for babysitters.

Adrian Delia had been speaking in Gozo. He’s back in Malta now. Fortunately, his trip on Gozo Channel was free from pirate attack.

Stat ta’ fatt: Delia jaqleb kollox ta’ taħt fuq

Il-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni, Adrian Delia, qed jibqa’ jiżbalja fatti bażiċi meta jmur jitkellem quddiem in-nies. Il-bieraħ qal li 60% tal-impjiegi f’Għawdex huma mas-settur pubbliku.  Qal hekk, “L-istatistika li smajt hija tal- biża’ u tat-tkexkix. 60% tax-xogħol Għawdxi huwa mal-gvern,” qal Adrina Delia.

Peró l-istatistika tal-uffiċċju nazzjonali tal-istatistika turi preċiżament il-kuntrarju. Kif jidher fit-tabella t’hawn fuq.

61% tax-xogħol Għawdxi huwa mal-privat.

Iktar minn hekk wieħed jinnota li kemm il-persentaġġ kif ukoll l-ammont ta’  Għawdxin jaħdmu mal-privat żdied matul din l-amministrazzjoni.

Fil-fatt jirriżulta li n-numru ta’ 5,799 Għawdxi jaħdem mal-privat fl-2012 issa tela’ għal 7,043 fl-2016, is-sena li għaliha hemm ippubblikata l-istatistika b’mod sħiħ.

Dan ifisser li kull ġimgħa matul il-leġiżlatura li għaddiet kien hemm żieda ta’ sitt persuni Għawdxin jaħdmu mal-privat. Dan sforz tad-diversi inizjattivi li ħa l-gvern immexxi minn Joseph Muscat u li se jissoktaw din is-sena b’għadd ta’ miżuri li tħabbru fil-Baġit 2018.

Tal-biża’ u tat-tkexkix hu  li l-Kap tal-Oppożizzjoni għadu ma fehemx ir-responsabbiltà li jġorr u jibqa’ jitkellem mingħajr ma jiċċekja l-fatti. U din mhux l-ewwel darba li ġrat. L-aqwa li jgħidulu prosit tad-diskors.

 

Adrian Delia jista’ anzi aħjar ngħidu, għandu jibda jiċċekja l-fatti qabel jitkellem. Għandu jifhem li daħal fid-dinja tal-politika fejn ma titkellimx bl-addoċċ imma titkellem wara li tifli l-fatti bir-reqqa u tipprepara.

Seven star news for White Rocks

Among all the gloom and doom mongers Maltese people love to hear some positive news as well as interesting facts which set the record straight. People who read mainly in English in Malta are overburdened with anti good news propaganda.

White Rocks is finally going to stop being a haunt for hidden behaviour and thanks to a consortium of Maltese businesses that employ thousands the area will become Malta’s first seven star location thanks to a hotel and other developments.

Of course Malta’s one hundred stars location was, is and always will be the Grand Harbour but it is good to look after dilapidated areas and improve them.

We all remember how many press conferences and attempts there were by PN to get this going? Too many which all resulted in failure. As in other areas, PN promises while Labour delivers.

The ghost of Egrant past, present and future

It now looks very evident that there is absolutely no evidence that Egrant is linked to the Muscat family or the Prime Minister’s wife specifically.

The ghost of Egrant past made serious allegations without providing one single proof. The ghost of Egrant present that is David Casa and his group of MEPs who came to Malta, had come already decided and just looked for anything that might fit their prejudiced judgement.

The ghost of Egrant future should mean that people now more than ever will know what they thought they knew when they voted in last year’s general election.

That there was no evidence linking the Prime Minister and his family to Egrant, and that whatever it is, it is not theirs. More electors might have voted Labour had they known Egrant was a ghost.

The Egrant story was, is and will be a lie. Don’t hold your breath waiting for apologies from David Casa, Simon Busuttil et al.

So much egg on their  Egrant faces.