Following the government’s announcement that MCAST engineering students are eligible for the warrant, University of Malta engineering students and higher authorities were prodded into discussing their concerns in press releases, official meetings and posts on Facebook.
In a post on Facebook, Minister of Education and Employment Evarist Bartolo said that we have to move away from snobbish tribalism and stop deeming an academic institution superior to a vocational institution; claiming that this is a false dichotomy. Minister Bartolo said the this while clarifying that the engineering profession is regulated by European Union standards and the Board for Engineers awards warrants to those graduating as engineers reaching the stipulated standards.
University Engineering Students’ Association, UESA President, Matthew Xuereb directly replied to the Ministers’ statement, emphasising that this statement does not promote dialogue and that they expect better. He said that asking for equality in standards, following endless sacrifices, is not “snobbish tribalism”. The “false dichotomy”, continued Matthew, is a forced assimilation imposed on the profession by politicians following a number of empty promises.
In light of these issues, UESA, University Engineering Students’ Association, organised an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) in which they unanimously agreed on a number of proposals which are to be discussed with the Chamber of Engineers, the Minister for Infrastructure, the Engineering Board, the Faculty of Engineering and other concerned parties.
The issues brought up by University students during the EGM included the fact that the content of the MCAST course, including the changes to be made, are not public. Furthermore they said there is little clarity as to who will be accrediting the abridgement course allowing MCAST engineering alumni to sit for their Engineering Warrant interview.
Engineering students and UESA pointed out the fact that while the Ministry was willing to amend the Act to satisfy the demands of MCAST engineering students and alumni, they, as future professionals, were not consulted on the upcoming changes to the Engineering Profession Act. UESA, together with engineering students concluded that they believe that the way forward is to discuss any amendments to be made with all stakeholders involved; particularly students.
A study conducted in 2016 showed discrepancies in the theoretical delivery of engineering knowledge between MCAST and the University of Malta. 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, the Chamber claimed that processes MCAST have amended their engineering degree courses to be equivalent to the other engineering degree courses recognised by the Engineering Profession Board.