Twenty four students from eighteen different countries are currently studying at the University of Malta in what is their second semester in the Erasmus Mundus funded International Master in Adult Education for Social Change (IMAESC) course.
The University of Malta, through its Department of Arts, Open Commuities & Adult Education, is one of the participating universities in this joint master’s degree programme together with the University of Glasgow (lead partner), Tallinn University, Estonia and the Open University of Cyprus. This course is held under the Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s degree scholarship scheme for three consecutive periods with a new cohort starting the course every September. The first semester takes place in Glasgow, the second in Malta and the third in Tallinn. The students have the option of attending summer school in Malaysia at the University Sains Malaysia during the summer months or else work as researchers at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg (UIL).
The course covers both theoretical and practical aspects of adult education with one of the two placements taking place in Malta during the second semester. The taught units during the Malta seminar are those of Adult Education and Difference, taught by Professor Peter Mayo, and Developing a Curriculum in Adult Education, taught by Professor Carmel Borg. While in Malta, the students follow an online course in Research Methods provided by the Open University of Cyprus (course leader: Dr. Georgia Solomonidou). Other themes/units tackled throughout the course include Introduction to Adult Education and Training (Professor Peter Mayo), International Issues in Adult Education (Professor Mike Osborne) and Psychology of Adult Learning (Dr. Catherine Lido), Adult Learning Placement (Dr. Bonnie Slade, Amanda Macdonald, Helen Martin) taught at University of Glasgow; Practical Aspects of Adult Education (Professor Larissa Jogi), Theories of Change (Prof. Triin Roosalu), Social Competences in Adult Education (Professor Larissa Jogi and Professor Kriistina Krabi), ‘Professionalization in Adult Education and Prior Learning Recognition (placement themes led by Professors Larissa Jogi and Marin Johnson) at Tallinn University. Students are also required to complete a dissertation. A number of visiting scholars visit the different campuses thoughout the IMAESC programme and deliver seminars in areas connected with their research. Dr Bonnie Slade (University of Glasgow and IMAESC Coordinator), Professor Katrina Popovic (University of Belgrade and Secretary General of the International Council for Adult Education-ICAE) and Professor Antonia De Vita (University of Verona) are the three visiting scholars for the Malta semester.
The course also allows enrolment of self-funded students in addition to the scholarship recipients and local bodies are encouraged to sponsor students through their own scholarship schemes. Maltese students can therefore apply to join this course either through the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship scheme which allows selection of only 5% of applicants from EU member countries. Students can also apply through their countries’ national scholarship schemes. To date there have not been any Maltese applicants. Applications for the course starting in September 2017 through the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship scheme have now closed but it is still possible for Maltese students to apply for a place as locally funded students through the scholarship schemes provided by the Maltese Government including those of the Ministry of Education and Employment. It is hoped that bureaucratic obstacles do not stand in the way of successful local scholarship recipients joining the course in September.
Students started the Malta semester in earnest on February 8th after having had an orientation week at University during which they met different officials from the institution. They were also given a guided tour of Valletta by the two coordinators in Malta. The overall course coordinator, Dr Bonnie Slade from University of Glasgow, was present for the Malta semester orientation week.