tertiary education is a fairly recent development. The Malta College of
Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) was set up in August 2000 by a
Deed of Foundation primarily with the objective of creating a clear and
coherent vocational education and training framework, offering clear
progression routes from basic vocational training up to degree level.
Since its establishment MCAST has sought to consolidate its educational
provision as well as expand its portfolio of programmes in order to be
able to expand into higher level education without the duplication of
provision or wasteful competition. MCAST provides a credible
alternative route to the university education without the duplication
of provision or wasteful competition. MCAST started to provide Level
courses in 2004 and is currently aiming to offer degree programmes in
University Tertiary Education
tertiary education in Malta is provided by one university, the
University of Malta. The University of Malta traces its origins to the
founding of the Collegium Melitense in 1592 which was run by Jesuits.
It was constituted by the Faculties of Theology, Medicine and Surgery,
and Law. (Zammit Mangion, 1992).
In 1578, Pope Gregory XIII empowered the Jesuits to confer the degrees of Magister Philosophiae and Doctor Divinitas.
University of Malta was ‘dormant’ twice: by the French in 1798-1800
period, when it became an ‘ecole centrale' with separate schools for
Medicine and Surgery and Theological studies, and by the Government of
Malta in the 1980-87 period when it was substituted by a new university
(at first called the ‘New University' and subsequently ‘The University
of Malta'). (Zammit Mangion, 1992).
The University was
re-founded twice: the first time in 1800 after the French left and was
revived by a Maltese Provisional government; the second time in 1988
when a new government did away with the University reforms of 1978-80.
During this latter period, tertiary education adopted the
student-worker scheme whereby employers sponsored students. Courses
alternated between 6 months study and 6 months work. The policy of
having a numerus clausus for entry into University was adopted and
admission to the University was available for students who obtained a
sponsorship to support their university studies.
In 1964, the
University moved most of its services out of the old 1592 premises in
Valletta to a new campus at Tal-Qroqq, Msida. Since then, new faculties
and interdisciplinary centres and institutes have been added and new
areas of studies introduced.
Before the 1988 Education Act,
tertiary education in the state sector in Malta fell under the
Commission for the Development of Higher Education established by the
1974 Education Act, and which replaced an earlier Royal University of
Malta Commission first created in 1958. The 1988 Education Act
abolished this Commission (Zammit Mangion, 1992). The new amendments
(Act XIII) of 2006 to the Education established the National Commission
for Higher Education which has to function to mediate between the
government and the University and other institutions of further and
The University has grown rapidly with an
increase in the number of courses offered, diverse, new areas of
studies offered to students, and a steadily growing student population.
Following Malta's entry into the European Union, the University of
Malta is undertaking a harmonisation process to bring its courses fully
in line with the Bologna Declaration.