Harmonising Approaches to Professional Higher Education in Europe

Malta

Stakeholder Survey Overview

As part of our research we carried out a survey of Education & Training stakeholders. Find the results of this survey below or download it..

Legislation & Policy Overview

The following section gives an overview of the national PHE environment within Malta. The profile was completed by Knowledge Innovation Centre.

Section A: General Profile of PHE

1. How is PHE defined in your country?

The term Professional Higher Education (PHE) is not used in Malta. Terms that are used are professional education and Vocational Education and Training (VET). However, these terms are not defined explicitly in national legislation. References to these terms are made in the Education Act CAP 327, Article 63 with regard to regulations of the term “programme” and “provision” as follows: “programme” means any academic, vocational or professional course of formal non-compulsory learning or research which serves to obtain a qualification classified within the Malta Qualifications Framework or to a foreign recognised and comparable qualifications framework; […] “provision” means the act of providing further or higher education in or from Malta, and includes full-time and part-time taught, research or vocationally-oriented programmes, distance learning, e-learning, partnerships with other providers or business entities, sub-contracting of services, franchising and offshore activities of a provider; (highlighted by author) Moreover, the Third Schedule of Legal Notice 296 of 2012 on the Further and Higher Education (Licensing, Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations makes the following reference with regard to higher education programmes:  “Higher education programme” An academic, vocational or professional programme which is of non-compulsory formal education, training or research and is accredited by the Commission under these regulations as one which leads to a national qualification with the title of Degree, Certificate, Diploma or other similar title at Malta Qualifications Framework Level 5 or higher or a foreign qualification of a similar title at a comparable level.

1.1 What is your nationally recognised definition of a PHE Institution?

The term PHE institution is not defined in Malta. Based on Legal Notice 296 of 2012 on the Further and Higher Education (Licensing, Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations there are 5 different types of provider licences:  9. (1) A provider shall apply for a licence to operate in one or more of the following categories of providers’ licences as defined in the Second Schedule: (a) a University; (b) a Higher education institution; (c) a Further education institution; (d) a Further education centre; or (e) an English as a foreign language teaching centre: […] SECOND SCHEDULE [Regulation 9 (1)] CATEGORIES OF PROVIDERS’ LICENCES […] Category 2: “Higher education institution” A licence to operate as a “higher education institution” permits a provider to provide accredited “higher education programmes”, as defined in the Third Schedule, whether self-awarded or otherwise. This licence includes higher education institutions established by the Act or by a regulation made thereunder or by any other law. It also includes providers which are not so established.  For eligibility for a licence as a “higher education institution”, a provider shall be a body corporate.  A licence to operate as a “higher education institution” does not authorise a provider to provide “further education programmes” as defined in the Third Schedule.

1.2 Are there any specific requirements towards PHE Curriculum/Course?

There is no definition of PHE. However, tthe Third Schedule of Legal Notice 296 of 2012 on the Further and Higher Education (Licensing, Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations makes the following reference with regard to higher education programmes:  “Higher education programme” An academic, vocational or professional programme which is of non-compulsory formal education, training or research and is accredited by the Commission under these regulations as one which leads to a national qualification with the title of Degree, Certificate, Diploma or other similar title at Malta Qualifications Framework Level 5 or higher or a foreign qualification of a similar title at a comparable level.  Please see the details regarding learning outcomes and knowledge, skills and competences specified in the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF) for programmes at MQF level 5 or higher.

2. Which EQF Levels does PHE cover?

EQF Level 5 – Yes
EQF Level 6 – Yes
EQF Level 7 – No
EQF Level 8 – No

3. Which governmental bodies are responsible for governance of the PHE sector? Do these differ from the governance of AHE? Is there any engagement of any other public authorities and which, if so?

The Ministry for Education and Employment (www.education.gov.mt) regulates the Education Sector in Malta up to and including higher education.  The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (www.ncfhe.org.mt) is responsible for quality assurance, accreditation and licensing of programmes and providers in the non-compulsory education sector.

4. Quality assurance: Please provide information on quality-related legislation (national QA/accreditation system, regulations concerning QA at institutional level etc.). Are there any specific QA criteria for PHE? If so, which (if necessary, refer to specific EQF levels or institutions)?

The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (www.ncfhe.org.mt) is responsible for quality assurance, accreditation and licensing of programmes and providers in the non-compulsory education sector. Article 6 of Legal Notice 296 of 2012 on the Further and Higher Education (Licensing, Accreditation and Quality Assurance) Regulations regulates that:  6. (1) Providers providing the following types of programmes do not require a licence issued under these regulations in order to provide these programmes:  (a) short programmes or courses which lead to a certificate of attendance; (b) continuous professional development programmes or courses which are regulated by professional accreditation bodies; (c) any type of programme which does not purport to serve for obtaining a qualification classified within the Malta Qualifications Framework or a recognised foreign qualifications framework; (d) programmes developed and provided by a company for proprietary purposes, or provided by other bodies or entities on its behalf, and for exclusive use within that company, which proprietary purposes shall be reflected in the name of the certificate or other type of award obtained upon successful completion of that programme: Provided that providers providing the programmes referred to in this regulation shall seek accreditation and apply for a licence under these regulations where they require such programmes to serve for obtaining qualifications classified within the Malta Qualifications Framework or a recognised foreign qualifications framework.

5. Are there any specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria for PHE, different from general HE principles?

No such specific funding mechanisms/principles/criteria exist.

6. Are there any formal requirements for stakeholders, in particular from the part of the professional sphere/employers’ representatives concerning their engagement in PHE steering and provisions? If so, in which areas (governance, quality assurance, curriculum development, students’ placement etc.)?

The Education Act CAP 327, Articles 92 and 93 on the Board of Governors of the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology regulates that:  92. (4) The members of the Board of Governors shall be persons having competence or experience in the education sector, vocational training, the economy, industry and services sectors or in the social sectors, and who, in the opinion of the Minister, possess leadership qualities, and have an understanding of the importance of vocational education and training within the context of general socio-economic development.  […]  93. (1) The Board of Governors shall be the highest governing body of the College and shall have the duty of performing the objectives and to exercise the powers of the College as laid down in the provisions of this Act, and shall in particular have the following functions:  (a) to acquire, administer and control the resources, facilities and property, both movable and immovable, of the College; (b) to establish Institutes, departments, centres, programmes and other educational and training entities for the due performance of the educational and training tasks and of interdisciplinary co-operation; (c) to distribute between the several Institutes and other educational and training entities within it the resources available to the College by way of funds and by way of premises, facilities, services, equipment and persons; (d) to supervise the expenditure and the administration of the College at all levels and to approve the annual budget proposals to be submitted to the Minister within a given time; (e) to appoint a Principal, and on his advice, also to appoint the Deputy Principals, the Heads of the Institutes and of other educational and training entities, on the basis of a definitive contract, and to set up, and abolish, any post of an academic, technical or other nature; (f) to make statutes, rules and other procedures in terms of the provisions of this Act; (g) to appoint Maltese or foreign examiners according to pre-established statutes and procedures, and to ensure that payment is effected for their services; (h) to ensure that proper academic and training levels are retained and improved on, and to establish and supervise internal auditing schemes which ensure the quality of education; (i) to enter into such agreements as appear to it necessary with sectors of economic activity in the country and with institutions in Malta and overseas for the better achievement of the objectives of the College; (j) to do anything which it may deem necessary to be done to achieve the objectives of the College and to execute the powers and functions of the College which have not been previously vested in another governing body of the College: Provided that the Institutes, departments, centres, programmes on other education and training entities as referred to in paragraph (b) may be established by the Board of Governors, following consultation with the Council of Institutes, and their establishment, statutes and regulations are to be deemed to have come in force on that date that the Minister may by notice establish in the Gazette.

7. Are there any other legislative differences between PHE and other HE institutions (e.g. partnership with enterprises, regional involvement etc.)?

No.

8. Is PHE limited to some specific branches and/or fields of study? If yes: Which ones?

Vocational Education and Training at the MQF level 5 or higher provides programmes in all fields of study, except in education.

Section B: Teaching & Staffing

1. Are there any formally set requirements for academic staff teaching at different levels in PHE (e.g their qualification, expertise, selection & appointment)? Are they different from AHE?

The Education Act CAP 327 Article 77 (e) specifies the body responsible at the University of Malta to develop regulations with regard to recruitment of academic staff. The requirements regarding minimum qualifications for access to different academic positions at the University of Malta are specified in the Collective Agreement.  The Education Act CAP 327 Article 97 (c) specifies the body responsible at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology with regard to recruitment of staff. No regulations are published with regard to minimum requirements for access into different lecturing positions at MCAST. However, conditions for applicants to lecturing positions are published in calls for applications.

2. Are there any specific requirements for PHE staff work (teaching/research) arrangements and workload? If so, which? How do they differ from AHE?

See feedback and sources in question 1.1. above.

3. Are there requirements to include non-academia (professionals) to teach in PHE institutions? What qualifications must they have if any?

No such requirements exist.

Section C: Curriculum

1. Are there any specific requirements as regards contents/structure (e.g. percentage of practically oriented modules) as regards PHE? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

The report referencing the MQF to the EQF specifies the share of credits to be allocated to key competences; sectoral skills and underpinning knowledge for each level of the QF. Since one ECTS as well a one ECVET shall be equivalent to 25 hours of total learning, this specification allows for the calculation of the total number of hours of learning to be allocated to key competences; sectoral skills and underpinning knowledge in a qualification at a given level.

2. Are there any specific requirements as regards practical elements of PHE study programmes (e.g. work experience/Practical placements/Internships)? If so, which? What are the differences with respect to AHE?

There are no specific requirements regarding practical elements. Education institutions offering vocationally oriented programmes at the level of higher education, that is at MQF level 5 or higher, may include such practical elements as part of their programmes.

3. Are there any other legal requirements specific for PHE programs?

No other legal requirements exist.

Section D: Research & Technology Transfer

1. What is the involvement of PHE in R&D&I&TT activities? Are there any formal differences at different levels/institutions of PHE?

According to Education Act CAP 327 Article 72 (a) and Article 89.6 (e) both the University of Malta and MCAST are charged with undertaking research.

2. Are public research programs restricted to some types of HEIs (e.g. academic sector)? If so, what are the criteria?

No there are no such restrictions. According to the National Research & Innovation Programme 2013 any Maltese Legal Entity as described in Section 1.7 of the regulations of this programme may be a Partner in a project and will be eligible for funding subject to the terms and conditions laid out in this document.

Section E: Recognition & Credit Transfer

1. Are there formal differences in the enrolment process into PHE and AHE?

According to the Education Act CAP 327 Article 72 (b) and Article 79 (d) the University of Malta may determine and regulate the conditions of admission to programmes of study offered by it. Likewise, according to Education Act CAP 327 Article 90 (e) MCAST may establish the conditions of admission to programmes of study offered by it.

2. Are there formal paths for transfer from PHE into other HE programmes (for graduates, during the study)? Are there automatic transfers for students between PHE and AHE? Do students need bridging programmes or other means of transition?

The Malta Qualifications Framework addresses the following issues: – Valuing All Formal, Informal and Non-Formal Learning; – Parity of Esteem of qualifications from different learning pathways including vocational and professional degrees and academic programmes of studies; – Access and Progression; – Lifelong Learning; and – Mobility.

3. Are there any specific regulations concerning employment of PHE graduates? Do you need to justify delivery of certain PHE studies? e.g provide evidence of labour market needs or collect data on employability of graduates).

No such requirements exist.

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