The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is developing a new state-of-the-art building for its Institute of Information and Communication Technology (IICT) as part of a 30.8 million euro EU-funded project. The Minister for Education Clifton Grima and the Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funding Chris Bonett visited the ongoing construction works this morning. The Institute provides diploma and degree courses leading to careers in software development, gaming, artificial intelligence, business analytics, computer systems and networks, multimedia and other sectors requiring digitally savvy and highly skilled graduates. Over ninety percent of the institute graduate find work related to their chosen area of study, and this year’s admission data shows that this is one of the institutes that attract the most applications.
Construction works are well in progress to provide an excellent academic building for the benefit of students and staff by June 2023. The new IICT building costing 13 million euro is part of the College’s efforts to establish itself as an international centre of excellence in vocational education and training (VET). The building is situated at the Paola Campus opposite the new Resource Centre, housing the impressive two-storey library. It will include 58 learning spaces, including computer and network labs and lecture rooms, 13 offices and a 500 square metre multipurpose space. The IICT hub is set on four floors, with a footprint area of 2,200 square metres and a gross floor area of 12,000 square metres.
“A few months ago we inaugurated the MCAST Resource Centre with an investment of €9.3 million, co-financed by E.U. funds. With this on-going project with an investment of €13 million, we are showing that this government is prioritizing our children’s education, by providing them with the best possible ambient where they can follow their educational journeys”, said Minister Grima.
On his part Parliamentary Secretary Chris Bonnet explained how, as a government “we are committed to continued investment in MCAST, even with European Funds 2021-2027. We are conscious that more students are choosing to study at MCAST both on full-time and part-time basis, due to the unique educative experience that the College offers to students”.
The building is part of a wider project funded through the European Regional Fund (2014-2020), under the priority “Developing our future through education, training and lifelong learning.” The project includes the Engineering Building, completed in 2019, and the Resource Centre, inaugurated last February.
Energy reduction measures are also included in the building, including insulation (roof, wall, apertures), a building energy management system, rainwater harvesting, water conservation and timer and photocell control lighting and presence detectors.
The investment in public infrastructure aims to reduce early school leavers and improve tertiary education attainment. The project contributes to two development needs – the lack of physical infrastructure in tertiary education and the lack of physical infrastructure in VET education.
MCAST Principal and CEO Professor Joachim James Calleja said, “This is a really exciting time for the College, and the investment in purpose-designed buildings is unprecedented. The IICT building will help us nurture the next generation of professionals in the sector. We will continue to work with industry to ensure that the College plays a key role in shaping Malta’s education and training and the future leaders and workforce. We now look forward to the project’s next phase to keep offering our students first-class facilities and increase the number of learners who are making MCAST their first choice.”