Warrants for MCAST graduates

The real difference is not between vocational and academic courses, but between good and bad courses

As of the next academic year, MCAST students pursuing an MQF Level 6 course in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering will now be able to sit for an interview to obtain an engineering warrant.

This issue, which has been pending since 2009, is now possible since we are ensuring that engineering standards are maintained. This will also eliminate the snobbery that exists between traditional students and MCAST students. Furthermore, students can now check beforehand that the course being followed leads to a warrant, something which already applies to Nursing courses.

MCAST will be offering two programmes to its students: one to pursue their studies at MQF Level 5 and another at MQF Level 6. The latter, a B. Eng four-year programme, meets the requirements for graduates to sit for an interview to obtain a warrant in engineering.

German accrediting body ASIIN conducted an audit on the MCAST programmes and presented a number of recommendations which were taken on board by the college. Once the changes were implemented successfully, the Engineering Board proceeded to approve the awarding of the engineering warrant to MCAST graduates in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering at MQF Level 6.

Former MCAST students who pursued their studies in engineering using the previous framework are able to undertake a pre-warrant qualification as of the second semester of the next academic year, as part of MCAST’s commitment of providing continuous professional development of its students.

The changes made were not in the learning outcomes of the programme(s) but on the vocational elements of the studies. The courses at MCAST are professional qualifications spread over seven levels of the Malta Qualifications Framework which enhance higher-order thinking skills in students whilst having the right level of academic background.

MCAST courses are regularly updated to reflect the latest best practices and technologies required for students to achieve a more successful employment career. In the next acadamic year (2018/2019) MCAST will be offering 195 full-time vocational education and training courses in six insititutes and three interlinked colleges.

The real difference is not between vocational and academic courses, but between good and bad courses. We will ensure that our courses will help students obtain the skills necessary for the real world.

Church, State together

The Church in Gozo has recently taken a small but significant step by announcing an initiative to open two hostels for Gozitan students in Malta.

The Gozitan Diocese, in conjunction with two religious orders, the Augustinian Brothers and the Sisters of St Joseph, will help Gozitan students studying in Malta by providing accommodation in G’Mangia and in Gżira. The Curia will be footing the bill for the expenses related to these hostels and I thank them for setting this example. Last year the Gozo Minister, Justyne Caruana also said that its Ministry was studying plans for a hostel in Malta for Gozitans studying in Malta, and plans are at an advanced stage.

I believe that the Government and Church should sit together and discuss how to work together to help provide housing for the most vulnerable and those at the bottom end of the income ladder.

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