PN pledges to keep ITS in St Julian’s, build school of performing arts

Simon Busuttil pledges to quintuple Malta's research budget to 5% of GDP, improve salaries of teachers and LSAs 

An aerial view of the ITS site in St Julian's
An aerial view of the ITS site in St Julian's

A Nationalist government will abandon plans to relocate the Institute of Tourism Studies to Smart City and ensure that it remains in St Julian’s.

Launching the PN’s education proposals at Handaq, Busuttil said that tourism students deserve to continue receiving their education in St Julian’s, “the heart of Malta’s tourism industry”.

He said that he will await the result of an ongoing National Audit Office investigation into the sale of the ITS land to hotelier Silvio Debono before deciding where the school will be sited. If the NAO rules that the land was sold to Debono on the cheap, then a PN government will scrap the deal and leave ITS where it is, while upgrading the school’s facilities. If it finds nothing wrong with the deal, then it will seek an alternative site in St Julian’s.

Busuttil also pledged that a Nationalist government will develop a secondary school of performing arts. that will provide students with mainstream education with a specific focus on performing arts. This will therefore operate on the same lines as the National Sports School in Pembroke.

He also pledged to improve the salaries and work conditions of teachers and LSAs, and ease teachers’ workload to allow them to focus on teaching. It will also launch a new code of behaviour and discipline for students, improve collaboration with Church and independent schools, reverse recent increases in MATSEC exam fees, and ensure that MCAST engineering students are given a warrant as soon as they graduate, just as their university peers.

Research budget to be quintupled

A PN government will also incentivize research – quintupling the research budget from the current 0.6% of Malta’s GDP to 5% over five years. It will boost funding for PhD scholarships, raise the University’s research fund by a further €1 million, and set up a new €5 million fund dedicated to research in physical, applied and social sciences and technology.

A law will be passed that will give the University full academic and administrative autonomy, while construction on the Sustainable Living Complex and post-doctoral research centre on campus will be finalused.

Studios will be built for the UoM’s School of Performing Arts and Institute of Digital Games, the engineering and science faculties will be extended, and the sports facilities on campus will be modernized.

To generate private investment in education, a PN government will also offer specific scholarships to Maltese students who enroll in courses in private post-secondary institutions on the island.