The University of Malta has approved the introduction of vocational and technical subjects within the Secondary and Education Certificate (SEC) and the Matriculation Certificate with the involvement and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) and the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS).
The decision was taken in the last Senate meeting in June. It was also decided that the MATSEC Board will set up Syllabus Panels for the vocational and technical subjects that will be taught in secondary schools, MCAST and ITS.
At the moment four vocational subjects - Engineering, Hospitality, IT Practitioner, and Health and Social Care - are being taught in a number of state and non-state schools. They were introduced in a pilot project starting in September 2011. The courses run by EDEXCEL have BTEC certification. Most of the courses at MCAST are also BTEC.
Their introduction in secondary school was controversial. The Labour Party said it is unacceptable that students in state secondary schools have to pay registration fee of110 sterling for each subject for the three year certification course. The Labour Party said that such courses should have been created in Malta with the help of the University, MCAST, ITS and the Malta Qualifications Council. The Labour Party has also said that BTEC courses at MCAST should be replaced by homegrown courses recognized internationally.
The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) had accused government of signing a secret contract with British vocation education agency: BTEC to introduce vocational education into secondary schools, behind the country and the MUT’s back.
The Education Ministry had denied the MUT officials' claims and said that talks were to be held with the union on the vocational subjects, the date of their introduction, and any impact on teachers' working conditions.