A recurring issue which has resurfaced just this week is the news that from the start of this scholastic year, students enrolling in the engineering course in MCAST will be eligible to obtain their engineering warrant. So far, this has only been achievable by University of Malta engineering graduates and those with an equivalent academic qualification relating to the engineering profession.
The Chamber of Engineers clarified that the Accreditation Agency ASIIN has assessed the engineering degrees offered by University and MCAST with the aim of providing recommendations to ensure that both institutions provide the same level of engineering degrees.
Following a number of review processes MCAST have amended their engineering degree courses to be equivalent to the other engineering degree courses recognised by the Engineering Profession Board. The Chamber has also emphasised that any past graduates will only be issued the Engineering Warrant if they can exhibit a solid level of competence at the discretion of the Engineering Profession Board.
The Chamber will be working with Hon. Minister Dr Ian Borg and the Engineering Profession Board to ease this process as it comes to a conclusion. Hon. Dr Ian Borg has said that the Government and the Engineering Profession Board have both agreed that all measures have been taken in order to ensure the quality and standard of the engineering profession remain of the highest quality. With this in mind, the 157 MCAST engineering graduates will be given additional training so that they can apply to receive an engineering warrant.
The Chamber has concluded by pointing out that it will keep all members notified of developments as well as an official position when the discussions come to close.
An independent evaluation of the courses provided by UoM and MCAST performed by ASIIN, an Accreditation Agency Specialized in Accrediting Degree Programs in Engineering, Informatics, the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, had shown that there are discrepancies in the theoretical delivery of engineering knowledge between the two institutions. As a result, the institutions would be required to deliver an equal standard of academic engineering concepts to their respective students, and the MCAST course was considered ineligible for professional recognition.
MCAST engineering alumni will have to sit for a pre-warrant qualification course, while the course has been amended. KSU, Kunsill Studenti Universitarji, and UESA, University Engineering Student Association, have issued a statement expressing their disappointment in having been completely left out of the consultation with the Ministry for Education and Employment and the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects.
KSU together with UESA requested further information about the additional training MCASt engineering students will undergo, and noted that entry requirements for that course were set at a lower bar than for those at the University of Malta.
In 2016, Ing. Norman Zammit, President of the Chamber of Engineers said that the engineering profession is “a regulated profession which embodies scientific and technological principles, in view of the over-riding need to protect public interest, particularly in relation to issues of public health and safety, protection of the environment and cultural heritage, and arising from the design, and supervision of engineering works, and therefore various Laws of Malta reserve relative tasks to be undertaken only by a holder of a Warrant”.
In the same year, the Chamber of Engineers, the association representing warrant holders in Malta, claimed that one would not expect to receive medical, legal or architectural advice from someone other than a renowned university graduate, with a well-founded academic background. The same should apply in the engineering profession, according to the chamber. They furthered by saying that the appreciation for engineering concepts is to be well-founded on theoretical knowledge, with the practical aspect being used to strengthen these foundations, and not using practice in order to substitute the knowledge which can only be understood by studying in-depth theory.