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Charlie Charlie won’t get involved

I had resisted and resisted the temptation for a long time but this morning I could resist no more. I tried the Charlie Charlie challenge.

I neatly wrote the two ‘yes’ and two ‘no’ in the four quadrants –so that Charlie, the Mexican demon, will have no problem reading the script. Since he is a Mexican it could be that his knowledge of English is somewhat limited. So I wrote the words as clearly as possible.

I found two pencils, almost brand new ones, and placed them on the paper, one on top of the other. Everything was state of the art – quite unlike the concrete at Mater Dei Hospital.

I also asked a colleague to accompany me. Since one can never tell how things develop I thought that extra help could come in useful.

We asked Charlie several questions in the most respectful tones. The pencils did not move one millimetre. What were we doing wrong? We consulted Mr Google to check whether Charlie was on leave or indisposed. It seems that he is still doing his tour of duty.

I changed the position of the pencils. I put on top the one that was on the bottom.

Two other colleagues joined us. The manner of speaking then became more abusive. But nothing moved Charlie to speak.

Perhaps it is the time difference between Malta and Mexico, someone said.

Perhaps he had a naughty night and he is sleeping it out, someone else suggested.

I don’t know why Charlie remained silent.

Perhaps he knew (demons do have this kind of premonition I am told) that we wanted to involve him in a current political controversy and demons, as we all know, take a very neutral stance when controversies are involved.

We were anxious to find out whether it is true that the planned changes to the regulations for the accreditation of universities mean that standard are being lowered.

Several academics said that this is definitively the case. If to make the grade of a University an organisation previously had to fill a number of criteria while now it need only fulfil just few of them then surely that means lowering of standards, many said.

But we have it on the authority of Martin Scicluna that diminishing entry criteria does not mean lowering standards. That statement boggles the mind but who am I to disagree with Scicluna. Academics who studied at universities, teach at universities and do research at universities give thumbs down to the legal notice. Scicluna who did none of these three things said that academics did not understand his masterfully crafted legal notice.

The Malta Union of Teachers joined the fray. It lambasted the proposed legal notice clearly branding it as an example of lowering of standards.

All the professionals are saying that standards will be lowered but Martin Scicluna still says that it is ok.

Only a demon could solve the issue but he, unfortunately, did not oblige.

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