Developments at AUM being monitored

The AUM only managed 15 students in first academic year

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has said the authorities will be closely monitoring developments at the American University of Malta but would not comment on recent sweeping dismissals at the institution.

“The National Commission for Further and Higher Education (NCFHE) is tasked with monitoring what is going on and I will ensure that this exercise continues,” Mr Bartolo told the Times of Malta.

“The NCFHE was tasked with the rigorous process of granting the licence, always conditional on certain important factors.

“Part of the procedure was having a reputable accounting firm carrying out due diligence to ensure the finances are there to carry out this project.”

Last week, 12 of the 13 lecturers serving at the only faculty on the AUM Cospicua campus were dismissed only a few days before the end of their six-month legal probation period.

Bartolo says he could not involve himself in the business of private operators

The same had happened to administration staff a few months earlier.

AUM provost John Ryder told this newspaper “six new full-time faculty and a few adjuncts” would be joining the institution.

Read: AUM hits back at critics, reports: 'project on track, new staff engaged'

Asked if he still had confidence in the AUM’s credentials and ability to operate, Mr Bartolo said he could not involve himself in the business of private operators, but noted the operators’ declarations that new staff had been hired and more students were expected in the new semester.

Mr Bartolo also reiterated his position that there should be no development of the planned second campus at Żonqor Point until student numbers improved to the point that the Cospicua facilities were operating at full capacity.

The AUM had planned to open its first academic year with over 300 students but only managed 15. None of the students are paying and most have been given scholarships by the AUM’s owners.

The AUM is now aiming to attract about 150 students for the next academic year.

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