Student and Academic Staff Mobility
The Government of Malta has established a number of scholarship schemes in order to provide adequate opportunities for student mobility. These scholarship schemes are intended for both undergraduate and postgraduate students and are administered by the Programme Implementation Directorate. These scholarship schemes offer an excellent opportunity in further specialisation for students following undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes thereby enhancing the employability of high level graduates in the priority sectors of knowledge-based economy in Malta.
The scholarship schemes include:
- Malta Government Scholarship Scheme (MGSS) – Postgraduate
- EU co-Funded Scholarship Schemes
- Malta Arts Scholarships
- Malta Sports Scholarships
- The Commonwealth Scholarships
The Malta Government Scholarship Scheme (MGSS)
This scheme, which is wholly funded by the Government of Malta, offers scholarships at a postgraduate level (MGSS-PG).
The scheme is aimed to address four key objectives namely:
- To increase research and development activity in Malta in identified areas of national priority;
- To encourage and promote more student participation at a postgraduate level of academic research both locally and internationally;
- To enhance and support research at the University of Malta;
- To increase the capacity and level of research, innovation and development activity in Malta thus ensuring a highly skilled workforce.
Since the launch of MGSS-PG in 2006 a total of 463 scholarships have been awarded, of which 235 led to the awarding of Doctoral Degrees.
EU co-funded scholarship schemes
These scholarship schemes seek to assist students reading for postgraduate courses that lead to a Masters Degree or Doctorate. These schemes also strive to prepare students for employment in the priority areas of the knowledge-based Maltese economy since a level of educational attainment is proving an ever increasingly important element in the country’s economic and social agenda.
Under the Strategic Educational Pathways Scholarship - STEPS launched in 2009, 870 scholarships have been awarded out of which 67 scholarship grants were at Doctoral Level. Yet, under the MASTER it! Scholarship Scheme which was launched in 2013, 497 beneficiaries have been awarded scholarships to pursue their studies at Masters level.
The key objectives of these schemes are to:
- Assist people to pursue further levels of academic research;
- Improve the quality and relevance of the education system;
- Reduce skills mismatches particularly within the priority economic sectors;
- Support further research in science and technology; and
- Increase the capacity and level of research, innovation and development activity in Malta.
The Malta Arts Scholarships (MAS)
The Malta Arts Scholarships scheme (MAS) is administered by the Programme Implementation Directorate in collaboration with the Arts Council Malta. MAS aims at providing adequate opportunities to support individuals who are exceptionally talented in the promotion of professional performance specialisation in the arts. The duration of the programme of studies has to be of a minimum of nine months and a maximum of four years. Students may follow programmes at foreign institutions as long as the institution and the programme is recognised by the Malta Qualifications Recognition Information Centre (MQRIC) within the National Commission for Further and Higher Education or approved by the Arts Council Malta. The scheme supports specialised programmes of studies in the following disciplines: theatre, music, dance, design, creative writing, film, the visual arts or any combination thereof. In the four years since its inception in 2010 the scheme has provided grants to 56 beneficiaries.
The Malta Sports Scholarships (MSS)
The Malta Sports Scholarships Scheme was launched in March 2012 and has as its overarching aim for the advancement of sports at a professional level in order to aid the development of high performance athletes/professionals. This specialization in sport is intended to encourage the uptake of sport and physical activity across the country resulting in an overall improvement in the health and well-being of the population as a whole. In the three years since its inception in 2012 the scheme has provided grants to 38 beneficiaries.
Commonwealth Scholarships scheme
The Commonwealth Scholarships scheme is also administered by the Programme Implementation Directorate. The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom invites Malta to nominate a number of candidates for Commonwealth Scholarships. The selected candidates are offered an opportunity to pursue a full-time or a doctoral postgraduate course lasting from one to three years or a 12-month non-degree study placement in the UK on a split-site basis. Scholarships may be tenable in the UK or in selected universities in Commonwealth countries.
Erasmus+ and other overseas experience for higher and vocational students
Erasmus+, the EU’s flagship education and training programme, emphasises student and staff mobility and European co-operation involving higher education institutions and other key players in the knowledge-based economy. It supports the creation of a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) through increased mobility. This allows for more innovation, growth and jobs in the EU. In addition to students, Erasmus+ also caters for teachers, trainers, and other stakeholders involved in higher education. These include relevant associations, research centres, counselling organisations and similar bodies. It is also open to enterprises, social partners and stakeholders, as well as public and private bodies providing education and training at local, regional and national level.
The Erasmus (Extended) University Charter (EUC) provides the general framework for the European Cooperation activities that higher education institution (HEI) may carry out within the Erasmus programme. The University of Malta was awarded the Extended University Charter in 2007. Thus the University of Malta is entitled to apply for Erasmus funding for student mobility for studies and for placements, as well as for transnational mobility activities for both Academic and Administrative staff members. With this charter, the University of Malta can also act as a co-ordinator of a consortium applying for Erasmus Intensive programmes, multilateral projects, networks or accompanying measures.
Malta has been participating in the Erasmus programme since the year 2000 when the University of Malta was the only HEI to be awarded an Erasmus University Charter (EUC). The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) were awarded the EUC in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Up till 2013 a total of 1864 students and 693 tutors have participated in the Erasmus and Erasmus+ programmes since 2000. Higher Education Maltese students and academic and administrative staff have since then benefitted from the award of EUR1.98m in funds. The following table provides an indicative overview of the selection results related to Erasmus Mobility for Maltese HEIs applications for 2014:
|Institution||Student Mobility||Lecturer and Administrative|
|University of Malta||300||70|
|Institute of Tourism Studies||18||10|
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST)
MCAST too has run a number of mobility projects under the Lifelong Learning Projects initiative with the aim of providing a mobility experience to students following courses at MQF Levels 4, 5 and 6. The number of beneficiaries in academic years 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 were as follows:
|Students||Lecturing Staff||Administrative Staff|
Two of the main mobility projects in which MCAST students and staff are participating in are:
- Sustainability in the New Europe – Ambassadors for Sustainability:
This project aims to enhance and embed Sustainability and Sustainable Development into the thoughts and activities of European students within the Construction, Engineering, Finance, Business and Marketing environments of Industry with a focus on Renewable Energies.
Students focus on ‘Sustainability ‘measures in their own countries, with a view and focus on researching Renewable Energies. The learners not only study the good practices within their trade disciplines but also enrich and change their own life style to embrace ‘Sustainability’ into their own outlook and activities. This would provide an individual and collective foundation for lifelong learning.
- School Alive:
The partners taking part in this action had the option of building either a complete recreational area or parts of it. To realize the project idea the activities were aligned to the curricular theoretical and practical lessons of each participating institution. The project consisted of drawings, practical work and site visits. The language of communication was English.
This intensive cooperation, collaboration, exchanging of methods, techniques and experience served as a clear pathway to enable participants to do training, work experience and live in other EU countries.
Another special added value for teachers involved in this project was the comparison of the teaching methods and materials throughout sessions, meetings and presentations. This improved the quality of education in the respective countries.
MCAST has also partnered with a number of foreign universities, such as HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Science Finland, the European University of Cyprus in Communication Arts, the University Medical Centre Groningen and the University of Canberra amongst others.
MCAST also actively participates in the Euroskills competition. This competition organised by the European Skills Promotion Organization (ESPO) aims to promote skills excellence, vocational education and training and craftsmanship among European youngsters.
Another successful European project which MCAST participated in was the European CNC Network – Train for Europe. This Comenius School Partnership, created in 2006 won first prize at the Charlemagne Youth Prize 2010 award event, a prize aimed at encouraging the development of European consciousness among young people as well as their participation in European integration projects.
Institution of Tourism Studies (ITS)
Students and lecturers at ITS have the opportunity to participate in mobility placements, these being either EU-funded or through industrial practice placements. Over the past few years ITS has collaborated in tourism education with a number of European higher education institutions including the University of Perugia, the University of Palermo, the Grenoble School of Management, the University of Manchester, the Lancashire University, the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Waterford Institute of Technology.
MCAST and ITS collaborated as partners in a project called Linking Industrial Needs and Vocational Education and Training(VET) to Optimise Human Capital (ESF 2.85). This EU co-financed project was organized in collaboration with the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry. The overall objective was to increase the number of persons trained with the specific aim of addressing emerging trends and developments in the labour market.