Matthew Vassallo, who spent six years at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and graduated Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Computer Networks, combined criticism with praise in his speech at the Mcast graduation ceremony.

He noted some of the small positive changes, such as the note written on the staff-room door, which evolved from ‘Kindly do not knock but send an e-mail to talk to a lecturer’ to ‘It is advisable to contact lecturers by e-mail to set an appointment. Thanks for your cooperation’, followed by a list of lecturers’ e-mails.

On a more serious note, he acknowledged the progress in the syllabus that helped students be more up-to-date with the advancements in ICT.

But one of the biggest steps forward at Mcast was the introduction of the ICT degree course, he said. This enabled students to continue their studies even further.

“Having a degree in ICT enables Mcast students be more competitive and successful in their future career,” he said. He added that it was important for the college to continue increasing its courses and explore other areas of specialisation in ICT, such as computer security or artificial intelligence.

However, Vassallo also pointed out that, regretfully, his course focused more on theory than on practical, hands-on work. He also said it was “very unfortunate” to see that the network project of National Diploma and Higher National Diploma (HND) had been removed by Btec. Having such projects helped students “to think outside the box”, he added.

But one of the biggest hurdles Mcast students faced, he said, was that they did not have enough time to choose a topic for their thesis, conduct research and finalise it by the end of the year.

He suggested HND students should be informed about the thesis as early as possible to enable them to at least start researching their topic during their summer holidays. In this way, he said, they could discuss it with their dissertation tutor and allow for more time to write their thesis.

After thanking the staff at Mcast for their “love, support and guidance” he wished his fellow graduates the best of luck, ending with an apt quote by Winston Churchill: “Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.”

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