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Minister Bartolo says feedback on UoM Act is ‘very positive’

The University Students’ Council lambasted the consultation document on the University of Malta Bill in November.

The University Students’ Council lambasted the consultation document on the University of Malta Bill in November.

Feedback on the proposed University of Malta Bill has been “very positive”, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has insisted.

The University of Malta Bill was criticised when a consultation document was launched last April.

It proposed that a governing board will be set up to approve the University’s plans and decisions, including its annual budget.

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

The Bill also includes an executive board that would act as a unit focusing on the strategic direction of the University.

The University of Malta Academic Staff Association lambasted the consultation document when launched last year.

During a meeting with the Education Minister, the association’s president, Jean-Paul Baldacchino, warned that taking the rector’s power through the governing board would weaken the democratic process of the University.

They also suggested that having the board members appointed by the Prime Minister would also threaten the institution’s autonomy.

When presenting its feedback to Minister Bartolo last November, the University Students’ Council suggested that the role of the executive board should be absorbed within the existing University Council.

Students criticised the white paper, saying that the governing board would give rise to a conflict of interest.

But when asked by the Times of Malta about feedback received, Dr Bartolo said that the response has been “very positive”.

“Our proposals are seen as helping to modernise the university on global and European lines for the 21st century,” he said.

The minister also pointed out that the feedback received on the consultation document was not concrete enough.

“We are still awaiting more specific proposals about governance structures of the University,” he added.

Feedback for the public consultation of the University of Malta Bill had closed on November 31.

Mr Bartolo insists that “everything is still up for discussion”.

The ministry “will consider seriously all proposals to make University democratic and accountable while embedding its role as critic and conscience of the society,” he said.

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