Pushing for more tertiary education

Tertiary education is another important step towards the consolidation of the knowledge-based economy

Interest in our scholarship scheme “Master it!”, and the student participation and interest in this scheme, co-funded through the European Social Fund 2007-13, has been constantly increasing.

Last week, we launched the fourth call under this scheme which will help increase the participation rate in tertiary education. It is another important step towards the consolidation of the knowledge-based economy necessary for the strengthening of the local market in an international context.

We believe that we should help students as well as parents who wish to pursue studies at Masters level. We have removed certain criteria of ineligibility. We are no longer making a distinction between an Honours or a General degree.

Even a person who is not in possession of an undergraduate degree may apply, provided that a recognised university is accepting the applicant to register for a course. We have also included those who wish to take studies at distance learning or part-time.

In the first two calls for applications, there were 684 responses, of which 464 were awarded a scholarship with an investment of €3.5 million. Earlier this year, a third call for applications was made, to which there were 208 responses. The selection process for these applications is currently being made and the interview phase will be held soon.

The scholarships awarded under the first and second call cover various key sectors within our economy but there is a clear emphasis on financial services, educational services, creative industries and life sciences. We believe that this is an opportunity not to be missed and we urge everyone interested to apply. Such degrees will help improve the skill-set of workers and students and provide the foundation for a better career.

There are virtually no limitations to areas of specialisation. We hope to attract applications for renewable technologies, product/equipment design, plastics and advanced materials manufacturing in high-end manufacturing.  Life sciences, such as dietetics, health psychology, leadership and organisational development in the health sector, clinical sciences, pharma manufacturing, and veterinary are also encouraged.

There is a wide range of specialisation in educational services. These include studies in hearing/visual impairment, autism, learning disabilities, multi-sensory impairments, career guidance, educational psychology, counselling and vocational education.

Malta has an important role in the provision of financial services. By offering more specialisation in fund management, marketing, economics and e-commerce, we are providing the right skill set which will attract more business to our islands.

We have increased our investment in education. We have even included eligibility for those who are already in possession of a Master degree, provided that the additional Masters course to be pursued is in another specialised area of study. We want to maximise usage of the funds available from the European Social Fund 2007-2013. The message in the title of this fund – Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life, says it all, and we urge all students to apply. Applications for this fourth call will close at the end of October.

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