One campus for Gozo MCAST

MCAST training programmes delivered in Gozo will fulfil the same quality assurance standards that are applicable to the same programmes delivered at the MCAST institutes in Malta

Earlier this week I had the honour and the privilege to participate in the inauguration of the new MCAST campus in Gozo. Only five months ago, we started discussing ways of implementing this vision, for education and for Gozo. Since then we have overcome many obstacles but the collective effort by all concerned has been such that the project was realised in a short time.

Having one campus in Gozo was a priority. The government was aware of the problems and inconveniences of MCAST having a split site operation in Gozo, with centres in Xaghra and Xewkija. Last May I held several meetings with staff and officials at the Gozo Centre and it was clear that we were all on the same wavelength. It was an idea that evolved alongside the masterplan for MCAST in Corradino 12 years ago. However, what good is an idea if it remains an idea?

A decision to set up the new MCAST campus in Gozo was taken. We identified a building in Ghajnsielem which was previously used by the School of Arts. It was a quasi-derelict building with an old wing in a semi-dilapidated state and a so called ‘new’ wing with serious structural problems.

The conversion of this building into the new campus, within the timeframes we had set, was an ambitious project. The works carried out included structural works, new mechanical and electrical systems, air-conditioning throughout, preparation of workshops and PC labs. Leisure areas were landscaped and walkways were paved with stencil concrete.

A new Pathway centre, a new Library, an appropriate staff room with adjoining facilities as well as a canteen for students and staff were also set up. Furthermore, internet and Wi-Fi will be available throughout the premises. I must thank all those who worked hard to meet the established deadlines – the completion of this project in such a short time is a direct result of careful and efficient planning.

But a school or college is more than just a building. We have a vision for the MCAST campus in Gozo. We wanted this project to meet the educational and economic needs of Gozo and we wanted it to meet the social and cultural needs of the students. MCAST Gozo has the potential to grow and it is an important part of our five year plan for the island.

MCAST Gozo will present an improved learning environment for students. We hope that this will be an essential tool in our drive to tackle early school leaving. A substantial number of courses are offered at the MCAST campus in Gozo. These new premises will offer the necessary tools and workshops to encourage our youngsters to further their education, both academically and vocationally.

MCAST training programmes delivered in Gozo will fulfil the same quality assurance standards that are applicable to the same programmes delivered at the MCAST institutes in Malta. Last year we introduced the level 4 National Diploma in Child Care. This year the MCAST Foundation Certificate in Horticulture and Animal Care is being delivered. We want our students, particularly those taking diplomas at Levels 4 and 5, to follow the success that our students have achieved in the working environment.

The student population at the new campus in Gozo will include 186 students who are continuing their studies and 132 new applicants this year. We aim to encourage secondary school students, but we also need the help of parents and guidance teachers to ensure that our youngsters further their education and training to ensure their future in productive employment.

Through this project we have started implementing our five year vision for the business, social and educational reform that we have pledged in our manifesto. In fact the new MCAST campus in Gozo is more than a College for youths and we want it to be the first community college in Malta and Gozo.