The University of Malta Cottonera Resource Centre has been set up to act as a bridge between some of the communities in the inner harbour area and the University of Malta. It seeks to act as a hub that co-ordinates links between these communities and the University, facilitating resource-transfer and capacity building.
The main aims of the Centre are to promote higher and tertiary education among these communities by building on existing skills and resources, providing information as well as support and guidance to those interested in furthering their education. At the same time, the Centre’s remit is to promote the area’s potential, in the form of skills, trades and other forms of heritage that are particular to the region.
The Centre, which was inaugurated on 22 January by Minister of Education and Employment, Dolores Cristina, is also cooperating with St. Margaret’s College within the Ministry of Education. A pilot action research project, strongly supported by Rector Prof. Juanito Camilleri, and initially under the direction of Prof. Carmel Cefai, Director of the Centre for Educational Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, involved twelve students, aged 11 to 15, who were identified because of their high educational potential. It was thought that these students were at risk of being hampered from continuing their education by certain problems related to their socio-economic background. This group of students was followed on three levels: peer mentoring, family, school-based and community-based support. As part of the same initiative, 12 other students were given the possibility of shadowing a number of people working in various roles at the University. Another 24 children of primary school age were sponsored to attend Kids on Campus. In parallel to this initiative, a committee was set up to work on developing university structures that are more accessible. The work of this committee culminated in the event ‘Skopri l-Universita` fit-Tlett Ibliet’ which took place in November 2012 in collaboration with the University Communications’ Office, followed by the opening of the Resource Centre.
In future, the Centre will be working on the organisation of conferences, seminars and similar activities related to the Cottonera area; collaborating with local councils and civil society on projects, initiatives and events that seek to promote the area; conduct or facilitate research on issues or topics related to the area, as well as making existing research results more accessible to the community. It will be assisting in the logistical aspects of courses organised by the University at all levels in the communities in question and/or Cottonera Resource Centre; managing community-based educational initiatives, both formal and non-formal; and building networks with entities active in the community, especially those dealing with educational institutions, agencies looking after the interests of groups facing social disadvantage, and entities that help in career guidance and in the promotion of employment.
The Centre aims to have an intergenerational focus to allow for a range of ages to benefit from its initiatives. It further seeks to facilitate contact and cooperaton between researchers available at the University of Malta and community members/entities. It will operate through a community centred approach and will continue developing according to what the community identifies as a priority.
For further information please contact:
Ms Andreana Dibben
Tel: +356 23407801
23 April 2017