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Joining forces for the benefit of ICT students and industry

Publication Date: Dec 10, 2010
Blata l-Bajda, Malta – [ 10/12/2010 ]: In a ceremony earlier today, a multilateral agreement was signed for the establishment of two HP Education Centres in Malta. This collaboration agreement was signed between the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), the University of Malta and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) with Hewlett-Packard (HP).
Hon Dr Austin Gatt, Minister for Information, Transport and Communication (MITC) commended HP’s initiative to establish the education centres in Malta as well as MITA, University and MCAST for their collaboration. “If we want to invest in education, then we must invest in technology so that today’s students will gain the necessary skills required for tomorrow’s workforce” added Minister Gatt. This is not the first agreement of the sort which Government has done with an ICT multinational company and Minister Gatt mentioned past collaborations with Microsoft, SAP, CISCO and Oracle which aside from investing in the University of Malta and MCAST they also set-up ICT academies that deliver industry-specific courses in Malta.
HP will establish an Education and Research Centre at the University of Malta under the scope of the ‘HP International Institute of Technology Programme’ - a programme which started in 2007 and nowadays comprises of 50 professors and over 5000 students spread in 21 leading universities from Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria. So far, 40 new ICT courses have been developed by these universities under the programme.
Now that the University of Malta joined this programme, the Faculty of ICT will be able to receive training on the latest HP technologies and develop customised courses for its students. Both lecturers and students will also have access to experts from HP labs to carry out research and development activities.
An Education Centre will also be setup at MCAST, in which lecturers will be able to receive training on the latest HP technologies and in turn deliver such courses to their students. Aside from the provision of the new ICT equipment for the two centres, training to lecturers and curricula, HP will also provide job and study opportunities for Maltese students. During 2011 all parties will work together to set up the centres and undergo the required training. It is expected that the first centre will be operational early in 2012.
 Minister Gatt explained that such educational investment from HP offers a unique opportunity for both University and MCAST lecturers to learn about the latest technologies and impart that knowledge to their students. ICT students will also be able to use state-of-the-art centres, access industry-relevant curricula and have the opportunity to work and study locally and abroad.
Mr Herbert Rastbichler, managing director and vice-president enterprise business for HP in Central and Eastern Europe, said that today students not only need to be familiar with various technologies, but actually be closely engaged with them. “Being tech-savvy is key since various technologies rule our lives and are instrumental in many spheres even if sometimes we do not notice them. Our efforts with MITA demonstrate our pursuit of improving access to newest technologies and driving positive change for further employment opportunities and research work of the Maltese students” said Mr Rastbichler.
Even though both the University of Malta and MCAST are doing a great job, the output of ICT graduates needs to increase to be able to meet future industry demands. MITA has recently launched the eSkills Alliance Malta which comprises of industry players, educational institutions and Government representation – all of which are working together to ensure that labour market intelligence is available, to promote coherent standards and ICT qualifications and to strengthen the career of ICT professionals.