A public sector teacher was told by her bosses she would get an extra allowance if she got herself another university qualification. The state (and other employers, incidentally) give their staff incentives to go to school and learn something new. Our case is about a secondary school Maltese language teacher who got herself certified as a proof-reader. Given the endemic plague of random Maltese spelling you’d think that’s something the education department would be happy about.

When she finished her training and claimed the allowance she was told there’s a “manual” about these allowances and hers didn’t count. She would not get her allowance.

She complained to the ombudsman for education who found that the “manual” was often ignored by the education division who paid some 175 other people allowances for qualifications that were not listed in the manual.

So why not our teacher? Why the unfairness?

That’s what the ombudsman is for: to rectify unfairness. The office wrote to the education ministry to ask for an explanation. They got none. They then wrote to the minister to recommend they fix the injustice. They got no answer. They then wrote to the prime minister. They got no answer. And finally, they wrote to Parliament. Much good that’s going to do our teacher.

You know what’s worse? The fact that by its indifference the government is signalling that it has every intention of behaving unfairly and will ignore any recommendations to make the crooked straight. They’re telling you not to bother to complain to the ombudsman because that won’t change anything.

When you accept the small injustices meted out on others, you invite greater injustice upon you.