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Audit permitting AUM’s licence to be prolonged stays underneath wraps

ByEditorialTeam

Nov 24, 2022

A authorities entity answerable for issuing the newest five-year licence renewal for the beleaguered American College of Malta has not printed the newest audit report on which it based mostly the choice.

Training Minister Clifton Grima, who’s politically answerable for the Malta Additional and Increased Training Authority (MFHEA), misled parliament when he mentioned, “the report was printed on the web site of the MFHEA” in replies to Opposition MP Rebekah Borg.

The Shift checked the minister’s declare and located the data to be incorrect –  the report remains to be lacking despite the fact that the impartial authority’s determination to resume the AUM’s licence was taken final August.

A spokesperson for the licensing authority confirmed with The Shift that the AUM was given a brand new five-year lifeline till 2027, regardless of breaching nearly all the situations of its unique licence, which was first issued in 2016 by then-MFHEA chairman Martin Scicluna.

Pressed to state whether or not the promised essential audit, a part of the unique licence’s situations, had been carried out and printed, the spokesman mentioned it had been carried out final April.

The outcomes, nonetheless, haven’t but been made obtainable to the general public, the spokesperson confirmed. He wouldn’t clarify why.

“The outcomes had been passable, and the programme audit report will likely be printed on the MFHEA’s web site,” the spokesperson mentioned with out explaining when or why they had been so late in being made public given the MFHEA’s often inflexible guidelines.

Final yr the Authority, led by government-appointed Chairman John Portelli, had already gone out of its approach to make sure the AUM would proceed to stay in operation regardless of failing to stick to licence situations.

Following an preliminary exterior high quality assurance audit carried out in 2021, wherein the AUM faired fairly poorly, the licensing authority determined to resume the Cottonera-based college’s license for an extra yr, as much as mid-2022, as a substitute of the standard 5.

This exception was given in order that the MFHEA might, within the meantime, perform a second audit, within the course of giving the AUM some respiration room to place its home so as so it could possibly be granted the five-year renewal.

Through the first audit, the AUM failed to satisfy the requirements required in eight of the 11 high quality assurance requirements on which it was evaluated, aside from different points raised, significantly regarding its financing.

The Authority had insisted on the time {that a} new audit could be carried out and that it will be made public earlier than the five-year licence could be renewed.

But the licence was renewed final summer time with out anybody understanding the standards on which the choice was based mostly or the conclusions of the newest audit.

The five-year renewal coincided with a deal struck between the federal government and the Jordanian homeowners of the development firm behind the college for a swap and outright sale of public land granted to the Jordanians by disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat.

In accordance with the newest deal, Robert Abela conceded to promote the Jordanians public land at Sensible Metropolis for simply €0.47c per sq. metre to construct their second campus as a substitute of at Zonqor Level, Marsaskala, over which there had been a public uproar.

Whereas in line with the phrases of its 2016 licence, the AUM was to have a minimal of 1,200 college students by its fourth yr of operations, it has failed to come back wherever close to the goal with lower than 200 college students on campus, totally on scholarships supplied by the college.

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