The University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) denied that the late publication of examination results is in any way the result of a formal directive issued by the union. This emerged during an informal meeting between UMASA President Prof. Matthew Montebello and Pulse President Matthew Zerafa. Prof. Montebello stated that ”all lecturers represented by UMASA are committed to respect the deadline imposed by the current Collective Agreement to send their results to their respective faculties.”
In a press release, Pulse said that this clarification shall “loosen deadlock between the parties involved and the students who have an immutable right to be kept aware of the situation and have a clear idea of the way forward.” It also announced that a formal meeting between Pulse and UMASA will occur in the “coming hours”.
Pulse reminds students and student representatives to distinguish between two important but separate issues; the untimely publication of results and the ongoing trade dispute between the government and the unions. The student organisation said that “it would be a mistake to correlate the untimely publication of results to a temporary dispute, when this issue has been plaguing our University’s system for years”
In the meantime, KSU (Kunsill Studneti Universitarji) has encouraged students to attend tomorrow’s urgent press conference. It re-affirmed that students are not “chess pawns”, stating in a Facebook post that “no one has the right to step on our rights” and that students’ rights should never be used as a “bargaining tool” in any ongoing dispute between the government and the unions.
Earlier: Highly reliable sources have revealed to Insiteronline.com that student organisation Pulse has been in contact with the University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) and the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) to discuss the debated issue of the publication of results, which are being held as ransom, as part of the directives issued in the trade dispute.
The source revealed that the unions met with Pulse representatives directly, and that the student organisation has official information which it will reveal shortly.
The whole controversy started when the Times of Malta reported that UMASA had instructed lecturers not to send examination results for publishing other than those of dissertations and theses. This is part of the trade dispute the unions affirmed against the University of Malta, after failing to negotiate a new academic staff collective agreement, last of which expired in 2003.
Later , KSU published a set of proposals intended to help in the negotiations in a press release entitled ‘Students are not Chess Pawns’. In it, they urged “all stakeholders to take a step backwards and stop making use of students as if they were chess pieces, and retreat the industrial directive that stops the publication of the exam results”. The statement was backed by 20 student organisations, including Pulse.