The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

KSU says there is no justification for the transfer of ODZ land to Sadeen Group

Friday, 18 December 2015, 12:32 Last update: about 4 years ago

The University Students Council (KSU) said it is once again disappointed with the outcome of the fifteen hour parliamentary debate held last Tuesday 15th December 2015, regarding the American University of Malta, concerning the environmental and educational impact of such “university”. As part of the Front Ħarsien ODZ, we are devastated to hear that, albeit much protest, ODZ Land is still being transferred for this project. After issuing several PRs, collaborating fully with the Front Ħarsien ODZ and discussing our opinion with the necessary authorities, we feel that our concerns have been ignored and that the concerns of many citizens of Malta have too been dismissed.  

KSU is also disappointed that, after holding several meetings with Evarist Bartolo, Minister of Education and Employment, and with Edel Cassar, CEO of NCFHE, in order to try and understand the waiving of certain clauses from the Education Act through the introduction of Legal Notice 150 of 2015, the Council was never informed about the decision taken by the Jordanian Company to apply for a "Higher Education Institution" licence and not for a University license. The latter decision continues to fuel doubts surrounding the raison d’etre of the introduction of Legal Notice 150.  

The Students’ Council is also devastated by the vagueity surrounding the education capacity of Sadeen Education Investment Limited, which means that the Government is transferring public land to an investor who holds absolutely no academic credentials. In Clause 10 of the Emphyteutical Grant, it states that education standards will be based on ‘student satisfaction’ - dismissing the requirements and conditions that may be imposed by the NCFHE.  

While, at face value, it may seem as though local businesses will thrive through the introduction of new investments, this does not reflect reality,  as Sadeen Education Investment Limited will have first right over all facilities, and it will have the discretion to lease and impart management rights and operational agreements over all ancillary facilities to anyone. A further point of note is the vagueity of the term ancillary facilities, as this simplification grants wide discretion on the AUM. The AUM will have the right of use of the land it presides over, land which the government is now obliged to maintain through its own funds. This gives exclusive rights of use to the investor, restricting the Government’s ability to use, transfer or grant such rights to any third parties, hence, restricting the use of such land by Maltese citizens. This right of use is not even in line with the definition of “use” set out within the Civil Code, highlighting the fact that this entire deal has been conducted in a nontransparent and backhanded manner from beginning to end.  

KSU will, once again, stand firm in its belief that there is truly no justification for the transfer of ODZ land. The AUM is not a university, but a Higher Education Institution, contrary to what was stated during various discussions with the concerned authorities, nor is it being built in the interest of the public, as the cons far outweigh the pros in this scenario. The Government’s discussions surrounding the AUM have been vague throughout, and the loss of some of the most valuable virgin land left in Malta should most definitely prevail over this pretence for a “university”.

The above Press Release was approved by the following organizations:

ASA - Arts Students' Association, ASCS - Association of Students of Commercial Studies, AEGEE, AIESEC UoM, Betapsi - Psychology Students' Association, Comma, DESA - Department of English Student Association, ESN - Erasmus Student Network, ELSA Malta - The European Law Students' Association, ESO - European Studies Organisation, ESA, University Futsal Team Mdina Knights FC, Greenhouse, GħSL - The Law Students' Society, GUG - Gozo University Group, GħST - Theology Students' Association, GħMU, HOASA - The History of Art Student Association, ICE Student Chapter, Insite, ICTSA - Information Communications Technology Students' Association, IEEE, IAESTE - International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience, JEF Malta - Young European Federalists Malta, KSJC, MADS, MKSU, MIRSA - International Relations Students Association, MHSA - Malta Health Student Association, MUSC - Malta University Sports Club, MMSA, MPSA - Malta Pharmaceutical Students' Association, MUST, OSQ, SPS - Students Philosophical Society, S-Cubed - Science Students' Society, SAI, SACES, SDM - Maltese Christian Democrat Students, SIERA, StudentiHarsienSocjali, The Third Eye, TDM2000 Malta, TSA, University Bible Group; UESA - University Engineering Students' Association, UoMR - University of Malta Racing, USPA, We Are - Youth &Student LGBTQQI Organisation, Y4TE - Youth For The Environment

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