New proposals for the University of Malta Act

Another consultation meeting has taken place between the Ministry for Education and Employment and stakeholders from the University of Malta on the new proposals for the University of Malta Act.

The fresh proposals published last week were discussed with the rectorate, the University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA), Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU), the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT), the Union Ħaddiema Magħqudin (UĦM) and representatives of the College of Deans.

The new proposals were overall well-received by the stakeholders and considered a positive step in the right direction.

The points in which there’s wide agreement upon are the improved student representation, the more autonomous structure being proposed as well as increase in responsibilities and accountability at the University. The Minister also agreed with MUT proposals – which also has UMASA’s support – that the Junior College is given more prominence in the University’s structures as well as in the new legislation.

The fact that the democratic process is being widened and improved across the board – including through the introduction of the single-transferable vote system in the electoral process at University – has also been widely supported by stakeholders.

There are still a number of points that, while in principle there’s consensus on, discussions will continue on how implementation of this will take place. These issues include the electoral college structure and whether a more direct approach can be introduced as well as the appeals procedure for promotions.

The only contention from the new draft bill is the removal of term-limitations of deans. UMASA and MUT are in favour of retaining the two-term limit of deans, heads of departments, and directors as originally proposed.

The Ministry welcomes the fact that the proposals were widely well-received and will commit to continue talks to refine the issues raised. More points will be discussed during bilateral meetings in the coming days.

The Parliamentary process for this draft bill is expected to start later this year.