AUM licence extended for five years

The American University of Malta’s operating licence was renewed in August by the educational authorities

The AUM's only functioning campus so far is situated in Bormla's Dock 1 area
The AUM's only functioning campus so far is situated in Bormla's Dock 1 area

The education authorities have renewed the operating licence of the American University of Malta for five years, Clifton Grima told parliament yesterday.

The Education Minister said the licence granted by the National Commission for Higher Education was renewed last August.

Grima was replying to a parliamentary question by Opposition MP Rebekah Borg.

Meanwhile, in a separate PQ, Borg asked when the agreement to transfer land at Smart City to AUM’s operating company Sadeen Investments was signed.

Economy Minister Silvio Schembri, who is responsible for the Lands Authority, said the agreement was signed on 29 August.

Schembri said that on 28 September, government signed a separate agreement with Smart City in which the company rescinded its possession on part of the land at Xgħajra.

In two back to back deals the government acquired possession of a stretch of land at Smart City, which was then leased to Sadeen for the construction of an AUM campus, while Sadeen gave up possession of the land originally given to it at Żonqor in Marsaskala and a tract of land in Bormla.

Parliament approved the transactions before the summer recess.

Sadeen had been controversially granted land in Bormla and Marsaskala to set up two campuses for its self-branded American University of Malta. Criticism of AUM ranged from the fact that Sadeen, a Jordanian company, had no background in education, to the environmental impact its campus would cause at Żonqor Point.

The Bormla campus, situated in the renovated Knights Building on Dock 1, started operating in September 2017 but the number of students AUM has managed to attract so far is still a far cry from its ultimate target of 4,000. AUM is contractually bound to complete its project by 2025 and reach the 4,000-student milestone by 2029.