The Malta Independent 4 June 2020, Thursday

The quest for quality students

Malta Independent Friday, 30 November 2012, 12:36 Last update: about 7 years ago

Universities are the place where knowledge is created and have come far in having students at the heart of this process however, attention must be paid to quality and standards so that students are not failed, University of Malta Pro-rector Prof. Alfred Vela said.

He was speaking at the opening of an international seminar organised by the University Students’ Council (KSU) - `The Quest for Quality for Students Consultation Seminar, which is on till Wednesday at University of Malta Valletta Campus, Old University Building. This also happens to be the 63rd Board Meeting of the European Students’ Union.

Prof. Alfred Vella explained that in the past, Universities were the place where myth and magic passed on from one generation to the next. It was the people working on the road or in other institutions who achieved development, especially in chemistry. Now Universities are the place where knowledge is created and the typical student leaves University not just with the knowledge gained, but with that created. This happens more so in post graduate degrees, Masters and PHD degrees.

However, he noted that nowadays too Universities may be failing students. The rights standards and guidelines must be adopted to assist academics and students to ensure the academic process remains relevant.

“Students are not clients but part of the process and the structure if Universities which need staff for the future,” Prof. Vella said.

KSU president Mario Cachia acknowledged it is their role as student representatives to make the first step in achieving better student education.

The Parliamentary Assistant at the Education Ministry, Stephen Spiteri, pointed out that representatives from 47 student councils, coming from 38 EU countries are participating in the international seminar organised by KSU.

Malta is the ideal meeting place for conferences on higher education on the basis of the University of Malta’s history. It sees its origins in 1592, when it was founded by the Jesuits.

The University today has a student population of 11,000 students coming from 77 different countries. Some 3,000 students graduate annually.

He went on to describe the KSU as the voice of University students, although he pointed out this one of 25 organisations.

“Students are at the heart of government policy for higher education and training,” he said. Scholarships, stipends and maintenance grants all help students financially in their studies and help to have one of the lowest unemployment rates among new graduates, in Europe.

Vocational training is also important for our island and building on a new campus is underway. At the same time, life-long learning is the backbone of society, knowledge, science, ICT are continuously challenging on our capacity as learners and workers. Life-long learning is therefore the way forward.

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