6 May 2020
Message from the Hon Dr Owen Bonnici, Minister for Education and Employment on the
launching of the MCAST Prospectus 2020-2021.
It is extremely encouraging to see MCAST grow as an educational force that continues to
attract not just young learners but also workers from all sectors of our workforce. I also hope to see a 24-hour vibrant Paola campus welcoming those who wish to study during the dayand in the evenings and carry out research and study in the new Resources Centre during the night when this is ready to welcome students. I wish to see cultural activities taking place regularly on campus and the College becoming the centre for international, social and community events in the Southern part of the Island.
The new prospectus can make this vision a reality for several reasons. The first is that it is the product of the MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts (ICA) students and their lecturers. A wonderful initiative to showcase the capability of MCAST students. Indeed, in my view, this edition is of a very high standard. Secondly, the new infrastructure that is being constructed (including the Resource Centre) will transform the College into a hub of activities in a stateof-the-art environment. Thirdly, the amount of activities that have taken place since the temporary closure of MCAST due to COVID-19 shows that management, lecturing staff and all other workers are fully dedicated to the students they serve.
I witnessed online learning taking place at the College and was impressed by the professional approach. What was truly impressive was the outreach programme that the College undertook so that all students at all levels would possess IT hardware and connectivity to enable them to follow lecturers online from home.
At MCAST, I have seen how advanced technology is but also how committed management, lecturing staff and many others are to reach out to students daily. My heartfelt thanks to all who have made this possible. A Vocational College is a particular educational institution. The strategic objectives that the College has adopted in 2018 capture this strategy in three key directions: inclusion, excellence and equity. Inclusion carries calculated risks that the College must take to enable all students to be given further educational experiences needed. It also implies that programmes at MCAST must cater to all talents and competences. This is a challenging task which requires constant vigilance and commitment.
With the new programme MY JOURNEY launched in secondary education, it is expected that this journey continues at MCAST and learners find their respectful place in society. Excellence is what MCAST is continuously striving to achieve. With pathways leading to higher education degrees, the College is on the right track to provide education and training of the highest calibre. The new prospectus illustrates this in no small measure. The opportunities for higher education, College-wide research and continuous professional development are there for all to experience. These initiatives, however, require a culture of equity so that personal and social circumstances do not hinder or obstruct at all, the individual’s achievement of educational pursuit.
Hence the uniqueness of MCAST as an institution with open walls and no barriers so that every student, young or old, can be given the opportunity to design or redesign his or her future through education and training. The new prospectus is a leap of quality into the post-COVID-19 period. My Ministry has been at the forefront to ensure that learning continues notwithstanding the unprecedented circumstances that we face through social distancing. However, it is often wrong to attribute this continuity of online learning solely to technology and artificial intelligence. We often hear and probably rightly so, that the world will certainly change when it resumes its economic activity in the post-COVID period. What must not change is, however, the human value when dealing with people, especially in a learning and working environment. Technology has indeed kept us connected. But nothing substitutes the connectivity created by real human interaction.
The faces of MCAST ICA students on the cover of their own creation, the new Prospectus
2020-2021, is a reminder that vocational education and training must always support
inclusivity and creativity. I augur that when the College re-opens its doors in September, the new prospectus would have served to attract an increasing number of keen and committed learners to all its programmes.