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University faculty to assist Msida hub for disadvantaged students

Prof. Joseph Cacciottolo (fifth from left) speaking at the signing of the memorandum of understanding in the presence of (from left) Emanuel Fenech, Evarist Bartolo, James Camilleri, Dr Frank Fabri, Prof. Andrew Azzopardi and Dr Dione Mifsud.

Prof. Joseph Cacciottolo (fifth from left) speaking at the signing of the memorandum of understanding in the presence of (from left) Emanuel Fenech, Evarist Bartolo, James Camilleri, Dr Frank Fabri, Prof. Andrew Azzopardi and Dr Dione Mifsud.

The University of Malta’s Faculty for Social Wellbeing has entered into a three-year memorandum of understanding with the Education Ministry to provide a range of professional and research ser-vices and organise a student befriending programme and an annual symposium to assist San Ġorġ Preca College’s Msida Educational Hub.

The hub caters for students coming from environments and backgrounds that hinder their learning process and offers them a programme aimed to help them in their personal development, discipline and growth, as well as to acquire employability skills.

Under the agreement, staff from the faculty’s Department of Counselling will provide supervision services to the staff at the hub. The faculty will also recruit University students to develop a befriending programme for students at the hub.

On its part the Ministry of Education agreed to provide the faculty funds to undertake research that contributes to a better understanding and improved strategies on how to deal with young people in challenging circumstances.

The two sides also agreed to jointly organise an annual symposium on a subject related to behaviour and young people.

University rector Prof. Alfred Vella said that this collaboration was another loop in the list of initiatives that the Faculty for Social Wellbeing was working on to bring the University close to the social sector. He said: “The relevance of academia lies in its ability to respond to what is happening on the ground. This collaboration brings out what academics are skilful at, namely teaching, research and mentoring, and makes good use of it. The hub will provide us with a project that we can leave an immediate impact upon.”

Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said that through this agreement the University’s work will become even more relevant as its students will face real life situations.

He added that the road will not be easy but it is the only way forward for schools to offer everyone an education, and to provide opportunities to those who would otherwise not have them. Mr Bartolo said he looked forward to futher such initiatives between the University and schools.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by University pro-rector Prof. Joseph Cacciottolo on behalf of Prof. Vella, and Dr Frank Fabri, permanent secretary at the Education Ministry, in the presence of Mr Bartolo, faculty dean Prof. Andrew Azzopardi, Dr Dione Mifsud, head of the Department of Counselling, Emanuel Fenech, head of the Msida Educational Hub and James Camilleri, principal of San Ġorġ Preca College.

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