BREAKING: Tipped-off UMASA press release contradicts Pulse statement

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An anonymous source has tipped Insiteronline to a specific press release jointly issued by the University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) and the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) on the 4th of July, 2014.

In it, the two unions said that the financial proposals issued by the University of Malta and the Government in relation to the collective agreement negotiations were “totally unacceptable” and “less than the increases given to other public entities”.

The unions declared “industrial action” in both the University of Malta (UoM) and the Junior College (JC) with effect from noon on the 4th of July. Under a sub-heading entitled “Directives for University of Malta/Junior College from 4th July 2014”, the unions said that all academics at the University of Malta are “to withhold all non-final year Undergraduate results at UoM and JC” and to not attend official meetings, such as boards of studies, departmental meetings, faculty boards and its sub-committees, and Senate and its sub-committee.

This contradicts the statement earlier made by Pulse to Insiteronline which stated that the UMASA President Prof. Matthew Montebello, in an informal meeting with Pulse President Matthew Zerafa, revealed that “all lecturers represented by UMASA are committed to respect the deadline imposed by the current Collective Agreement to send their results to their respective faculties”.

Link to the press release jointly issued by the UMASA and the MUT on the 4th of July, 2014

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BREAKING: UMASA deny involvement in late publication of results

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The University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) denied that the late publication of examination results is in any way the result of a formal directive issued by the union. This emerged during an informal meeting between UMASA President Prof. Matthew Montebello and Pulse President Matthew Zerafa. Prof. Montebello stated that ”all lecturers represented by UMASA are committed to respect the deadline imposed by the current Collective Agreement to send their results to their respective faculties.”

In a press release, Pulse said that this clarification shall “loosen deadlock between the parties involved and the students who have an immutable right to be kept aware of the situation and have a clear idea of the way forward.” It also announced that a formal meeting between Pulse and UMASA will occur in the “coming hours”.

Pulse reminds students and student representatives to distinguish between two important but separate issues; the untimely publication of results and the ongoing trade dispute between the government and the unions. The student organisation said that “it would be a mistake to correlate the untimely publication of results to a temporary dispute, when this issue has been plaguing our University’s system for years”

In the meantime, KSU (Kunsill Studneti Universitarji) has encouraged students to attend tomorrow’s urgent press conference. It re-affirmed that students are not “chess pawns”, stating in a Facebook post that “no one has the right to step on our rights” and that students’ rights should never be used as a “bargaining tool” in any ongoing dispute between the government and the unions.


 Highly reliable sources have revealed to that student organisation Pulse has been in contact with the University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) and the Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) to discuss the debated issue of the publication of results, which are being held as ransom, as part of the directives issued in the trade dispute.

The source revealed that the unions met with Pulse representatives directly, and that the student organisation has official information which it will reveal shortly.

The whole controversy started when the Times of Malta reported that UMASA had instructed lecturers not to send examination results for publishing other than those of dissertations and theses. This is part of the trade dispute the unions affirmed against the University of Malta, after failing to negotiate a new academic staff collective agreement, last of which expired in 2003.

Later , KSU  published a set of proposals intended to help in the negotiations in a press release entitled ‘Students are not Chess Pawns’. In it, they urged “all stakeholders to take a step backwards and stop making use of students as if they were chess pieces, and retreat the industrial directive that stops the publication of the exam results”. The statement was backed by 20 student organisations, including Pulse.


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Gozo Youth Council concerned about ‘brain drain’

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The Gozo Youth Council is concerned about the ‘brain drain’ experienced by the island. This means that high-skilled Gozitans tend to look elsewhere than Gozo for employment. In a press release, the Council said that the only way such an economically impairing phenomenon can be countered is through direct investment in Gozo with the aim of developing sectors such as education, creativity, research, tourism, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Therefore the Council is calling for specific and direct measures to stimulate Gozo’s economy, particularly with regards to job creation and human resources, in the light of Operational Programmes I and II of the the EU Cohesion Policy.

While it appreciates nation-wide benefits that arise from national projects and schemes of which Gozo has its share, the Gozo Youth Council believes that “Gozo should nonetheless acquire more precise and concrete proposals.”

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GUG – maintenance grants for Gozitans need to be increased

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According to a survey the University Gozitan group (GUG) has carried out recently, University and MCAST Gozitan students cannot keep up with paying rent.

Out of 1,170 Gozitans studying in Malta, only 13.8% participated in this survey.

The majority of the participants said their current stipend is falling short of rent and transport expenses, which range from €80 to €180.

Most of the participants also said the grant should be adjusted with costs of living adjustment.

The survey has been officially released by GUG after the organisation met Prime Minister Joseph Muscat last week to discuss initial indications of dissatisfied students.

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‘Careers in Science’- An S-Cubed initiative

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Last Saturday, the Science Students’ Society (S-Cubed) held the talk ‘Careers in Science’, the first ever of its type. In it, graduates from the Faculty of Science who have started their work experience or who are carrying out postgraduate studies in science, spoke to a hall of around 100 students who sat for their A-level exams last May about the different science courses offered by the faculty.

The four speakers were Mr Michael C. Grech (B .Sc. Chemistry with Materials), Mr Eman Mifsud (B.Sc. Chemistry and Biology), Ms Anna Pulo (B.Sc. Physics and Maths), and Mr Andrea Fenech Adami (B.Sc. Maths and Statistics). They spoke about their respective courses, gave advice to those students who are interested in following them, and gave a clear picture of the current job opportunities that follow them, both in Malta and abroad. All of them emphasized that an active student life enhances skills such as time-management that will help them when searching for a job. They also encouraged youth exchanges and ERASMUS+ opportunities.

S-Cubed President Stephen Vella concluded this event by outlining the objectives and main events carried out by the student organization, including such popular educational and social events as ‘Science in the City’ and the ‘Annual Science Seminar’ which this year will hit its 10th edition.

Any prospective science student who wishes to contact S-Cubed for further information regarding the courses offered by the Faculty of Science or any other help with regards to preparations before and during the first weeks of University is more than welcome to contact them on

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GUG welcomes Caremark launch

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The GUG (Grupp Universitarji Ghawdxin) welcomed the recent launch of Caremark in Gozo. Caremark is a leading British company that offers a variety of specialized care by fully-qualified professionals in the comfort of patients’ own homes.

GUG supports this investment as it will improve the training and job opportunities in Gozo for those interested in following a career in healthcare. Moreover, the domiciliary care offered by Caremark allows patients to go on living in their community while providing some respite to their personal carers.

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