A British company that has partnerships with 18 universities, including in China and the US, is eyeing Malta and Gozo as a base, with the potential of bringing over about 3,000 foreign students a year.

We are ready to work with everyone who wants to expand in this sector- Muscat

Into University Partnerships said it was looking forward to opening an operation on the island because it believed Malta had the potential to expand its English-teaching niche.

Company chairman Andrew Collins met Labour leader Joseph Muscat and MPs Owen Bonnici and Evarist Barolo to explain how this idea would work. He said the company was also looking at the possibility of setting up a private campus in Gozo that would focus specifically on medical studies.

He said his company was prepared to work with any government after the next general election.

Dr Muscat said a Labour government would, if elected, start discussions with this company to facilitate the setting up of this base.

“We are ready to work with everyone who wants to expand in this sector,” he said, adding Labour believed inthe internationalisation of Malta’s education facilities and would develop what was already being done at the Institute for Tourism Studies and the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology, which is opening a campus in Misurata, Libya.

Agreements with foreign universities would not mean less funding for the University of Malta but it would offer students more choices, he said, adding that the University should not see this development as competition.

A Labour government would lobby hard for Malta to have a branch of the Polytechnic of the Mediterranean, a project that he said was on the radar of the European Union.

After the meeting, Dr Muscat toured the new Vodafone office at SkyParks in Luqa, where he was told of the €59 million investment the company was planning over the next five years.

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