Maltawinds has received various complaints from education providers regarding the evaluation process for the accreditation of courses by the National Commission for Further and Higher Education. It seems that the NCFHE is lacking resources and its taking its time to accredit courses. Apart from this it appears that the evaluators are not always up to standard and it is very clear from the feedback provided that certain evaluators are not well acquainted with the subjects concerned.
On the other hand it appears that a different approach is being taken towards the American University of Malta. Although the NCFHE wants to appear to be hard on this organisation in view of the public opinion it is a mild watchdog when it comes to the accreditation of certain courses. The administrative fine reported by Maltatoday seems to be just part of a Public Relations exercise. In fact their website totally ignored the NCFHE and has its logo as a University still on as it was (http://aum.com.mt/#Home)
Maybe the rules as they stand are too onerous and need to be thoroughly analysed. Maybe the NCFHE should be allocated more resources if it is to do the job it is called to do. In any case having double standards is not only unacceptable but puts into question the credibility of the sector.
Education entrepreneurs are angry at the situation as whilst they have invested for years in education due to this attitude of the NCFHE a sense of unfair competition is being felt from inception. The sector has welcomed the foreign investment in education as most seem to believe that this will give a boost to the sector itself. However, competition needs to be at a level playing field. A particular entrepreneur told Maltawinds that he does not wish to see a replica of the unfair competition from the University of Malta that has been going on. “ We welcome competition but the rules and resources should be the same for all” the source told us.
It is claimed that the NCFHE have been under pressure with respect to the AUM status To date however, we do not know if any courses were given accreditation. Given the general doubts that the Opposition has put on this investment a better communication strategy on what is happening would have been expected.
What is sure is that once again Malta has attracted an investment which it may have not been prepared for in the same manner as it was not prepared in other industries. Perhaps it should make us think of better National long term plans.