'American University of Malta' campus to take three years to complete

Architect Edwin Mintoff says lectures to start as soon as the first building is completed

Economy Minister Chris Cardona accompanied by architect Edwin Mintoff, OPM deputy chief of staff Alex Muscat and Louai Twal, Sadeen's head of legal department
Economy Minister Chris Cardona accompanied by architect Edwin Mintoff, OPM deputy chief of staff Alex Muscat and Louai Twal, Sadeen's head of legal department

The ‘American University of Malta’ – currently the American Institute of Malta – may start offering courses as early as this year, permits allowing.

The completion of the full project in Bormla – which will see the conversion of the Dock 1 – is expected to take three years. Project architect Edwin Mintoff however warned that works also depended on any archeological discoveries that could be made.

“Lectures can start as soon as the first building is completed,” Mintoff told journalists during a tour of the ongoing works at the €50 million project. “Slight delays are expected because of the archeological findings we may make.”

Mintoff added that asbestos was found in the British Building and the Knights Building.

The Planning Authority is currently reviewing the application for development permission of the British building, which includes the change of use into an educational institution, the reconstruction of missing original volumes, interior alterations and extensions including the addition of an extra floor.

So far, only permits for restoration works have been issued.

Touring the project, Economy Minister Chris Cardona expressed confidence that the American Institute of Malta will be accredited as the American University of Malta, offering courses in engineering, medical sciences, ICT and communications.

“Together with other educational projects, the AUM will place Malta on the tertiary education’s global map,” the minister said.

The total cost of the project – including the campus in Zonqor – will cost some €115 million over a period of three years. Generating between €20 million and €25 million annually, the project should attract 4,000 foreign students, with an additional government revenue of €9 million.

Cardona went on to add that 750 jobs will be created.

Sadeen Education Investment Ltd, the company established in Malta by the Sadeen Group to develop the American University of Malta, is only licensed to carry out the activities of a higher education institution since it does not have enough learning programmes for a university licence.

On 11 March, action was taken with a judicial letter to Sadeen, sent in accordance with laws that prohibit licensed higher education institutions from using the word “university” in any of the media or their advertising literature.

Nasser Zayyat, head of academic affairs, told MaltaToday that Sadeen “was not promoting” the institute as a university.

The NCFHE did not divulge the amount of the penalty it had imposed.

Under education laws, licensees who breach licensing rules are liable to an administrative fine not exceeding €4,000 and an additional penalty of not more than €116 for each day during which the offence continues.

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