Updated Saturday with MCAST's reaction
The Chamber of Engineers has initiated court action against the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) which it accused of misleading students into believing that they could obtain a warrant if they followed any of its courses related to the engineering profession.
In a judicial protest filed on Friday in the First Hall of the Civil Court, the chamber said it had no option but to escalate the court action after the college failed to rectify its position on their courses being offered, despite a legal letter sent earlier in the month.
The chamber contested the fact that MCAST has been publicising courses in engineering which breach a previous agreement which was entered into between the Engineering Profession Board and MCAST.
The courses in question are the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Electronics and Control Engineering – Top Up and the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering (Plant) – Top Up.
MCAST graduates who have already graduated with the above degrees are not being considered by the Engineering Profession Board as being eligible for the warrant to practice the profession.
The chamber said a review was currently under way and external consultants had been appointed by the board to review MCAST’s proposal on bridging studies which should ensure that the quality of these graduates is brought up to standard as stipulated in the Engineering Profession Act.
An official report by these consultants has highlighted a lack of equivalence between the standard being sought and the content being offered in those courses, mainly in relation to the underlying deficiencies in engineering fundamentals and scientific concepts.
In the meantime, MCAST stopped the top-up courses but the chamber is yet to receive replies on other shortcomings.
In view of the uncertainty surrounding the eligibility of such graduates from the courses, the chamber said the publication of such courses in the prospectus is “irresponsible and misleading”.
Moreover, new courses, made up of 240 credits at level 6 in Engineering have already started without a full review from the external consultants, with students being expected to graduate in the coming years without knowing whether they could get a warrant to practice.
The chamber feels that this is a disservice to the public and particularly to those students prospecting to enter the Engineering Profession, the chamber said in its protest.
It said that in its latest prospectus, the college mentions the role of ‘engineer’ as career prospects in relation to courses that are not considered to be eligible for an engineering warrant.
The wrong use of the ‘Ing.’ title or any form of false indication that one is eligible to practice the profession of engineer goes against the Engineering Profession Act, the chamber said.
It called on the college to stop offering such courses and to stop misleading prospective students into believing that they could obtain a warrant to practice as engineers if they followed any of its courses.
Lawyers Jonathan Attard and Axl Camilleri signed the protest.
The college "strongly" objected to the chamber's statements and the action it took two days before the elections of the Engineering Profession Board.
"The Chamber of Engineers is well aware that MCAST is working with the Engineering Profession Board on the provision of engineering courses.
"MCAST’s courses are open to rigorous audits by the Engineering Board and currently, a German audit firm has been assigned to oversee its programmes. The Chamber of Engineers is involved throughout this entire process."
MCAST said it will continue striving towards collaboration with all stakeholders while ensuring that its inclusive course offer leads to professions relevant to today’s industry needs.