Lecturers oppose removal of Rector from governing board

Lecturers oppose removal of Rector from governing board

Lecturer disagrees with high student representation

The proposed format of the University’s governing board has earned the wrath of the association representing academic staff, with the removal of the Rector as one of the main sticking points.

At a meeting with Education Minister Evarist Bartolo on Friday, one lecturer also objected to the plan to have a quarter of the board taken up by student representation, arguing: “We would like to remind the minister that students are transitory, while the academic body is here to stay. We cannot understand the disproportionate representation.”

The intention is to have the new governing board approve the University’s plans and decisions, including its annual budget, academic plan and business plan.

Read the Consultation paper here.

The board will be chaired by the University Chancellor and will include three to five members - all directly appointed by the Prime Minister.

The members must not be MPs, must not have any direct interest in the University or government ministries, must have experience in managing large organisations and must be skilled in overseeing financial management and human resources.

According to the consultation document, this is being done “because the institution is publicly funded”.

The Rector will not be part of this board, but would be “encouraged to attend meetings whenever invited to do so”.

However, the University of Malta Academic Staff Association warned that the removal of the Rector would weaken the “democratic process” and proposed that he should at the very least be given an observer status on the board and on the University of Malta council.

“A national university is not a private corporation. It would be inappropriate to consider it analogous to private corporation, it is a national asset where knowledge is created,” they said.

Dr Bartolo said he had received a letter from academics on the eve of the election, touching on aspects of good governance, transparency and meritocracy.
One of the points that they had raised – the appeals process when disciplinary action was being taken – was welcomed by UMASA.

He insisted that there was “no hidden agenda” to take control of the university.

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