Chairman of National Commission for Further and Higher Education Steps Down but Gives Ministerial Undertaking that New Board Will be Bound by the Decisions on AUM Taken by his Board


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At a media conference called by the Chairman of the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, Martin Scicluna, to present the Commission’s Annual Report and to announce his own resignation from the NCFHE Board at the end of his tenure as Chairman, a public undertaking was given that the new Board which would be in post from 16th July would be fully bound by the decisions on the American University of Malta which the Commission had taken on 30th June.
 
Up-dating the Conference on the latest developments on the American University of Malta, Martin Scicluna reported that this was an issue which had dominated public perceptions about the Commission for almost half its time in office as a Board and had come to define its standing as the independent regulator in Further and Higher Education in Malta.
 
At a media conference called by the Chairman of the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, Martin Scicluna, to present the Commission’s Annual Report and to announce his own resignation from the NCFHE Board at the end of his tenure as Chairman, a public undertaking was given that the new Board which would be in post from 16th July would be fully bound by the decisions on the American University of Malta which the Commission had taken on 30th June.
 
Up-dating the Conference on the latest developments on the American University of Malta, Martin Scicluna reported that this was an issue which had dominated public perceptions about the Commission for almost half its time in office as a Board and had come to define its standing as the independent regulator in Further and Higher Education in Malta.
 
He said that, following the Commission’s decision about the future of the American University of Malta, it had been over a fortnight since the offer of a licence had been made to Sadeen Education Investment Ltd, subject to their acceptance of rigorous conditions. To date, nothing had been heard officially from the applicant, except for a report in one newspaper about the possibility of Sadeen asking for some sort of “compromise” on a number of financial conditions imposed by the Commission.
 
Martin Scicluna stressed two points:
  • ​He said that under the law an applicant for a licence could not appeal against any conditions laid down by the Commission in relation to the granting or refusal of a licence. Specifically, an appeal “shall not concern the merits of a decision taken by the Commission under these regulations in relation to….the imposition of restrictions or conditions on licensees”. In plain English, the Commission’s decision was final.
  • He also reported that he had been given full assurance by the Minister for Education [Evarist Bartolo] that the new Board of the Commission, which would take office from tomorrow, 16th July, would be bound on this issue by the conditions laid down by the present Board in its decision which had been conveyed to Sadeen Education Investment Ltd on 30th June. This stipulation had also been made clear to Sadeen Education Investments Ltd.  

In presenting the Annual Report of the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, it was highlighted that when the outgoing Board took over the Commission 3 years ago, they had found a demoralised and under-strength organisation. It had an outgoing CEO, no proper financial structures, no proper organisational structure, the staff had mixed terms and conditions of service and no collective agreement. It had only recently been merged from two earlier entities and had been allocated new wider responsibilities for accreditation, quality assurance and validation for which it was clearly under-resourced.

His Board had been determined to re-build this broken organisation. Slowly, the Board was able to move matters forward organisationally, administratively and in all the technical areas for which the Commission was responsible. Above all, Martin Scicluna emphasised that establishing the independence, integrity, objectivity and transparency of role in the accreditation and qua​lity assurance fields was the paramount objective.

The Annual Report​ demonstrated the wide sweep of responsibilities of the Commission’s 30 young staff members, ranging from research, analysis and review to licensing, accreditation, quality assurance and qualifications recognition; from promoting life-long learning to the promotion of vocational education and training; and many others.

Martin Scicluna ended b
y saying: “On behalf of the Board, I want to place on the record my thanks to all the staff for all that they have achieved. And also all that I am confident they are still to achieve. With an average age of just 35 years, we are very proud of them and confident that they have so much still to give.” 

 
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