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Malta: new VET pedagogy addresses the Industry 4.0 challenge

The fourth industrial revolution is bringing a series of social, political, cultural and economic impacts that will unfold over the 21st century.  It calls on the education community to be among the key players in developing VET curricula, ensuring that learners will graduate into a world equipped with the right skillset, to shape the world rather than solely address the skills gap challenge.

Malta’s College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST) is committed to facing up to challenges presented by recent developments in technology and to fostering excellence in the provision of innovative, quality vocational post-secondary (including  higher) education.

In January 2019, MCAST will start offering a master’s degree in vocational education applied research 4.0 (MVEAR4.0). This will use a blended learning approach, focusing on an interactive strategy which combines online and face-to-face instruction. It aims to increase active and peer-to-peer learning while supporting access and flexibility, allowing more mature learners, with external commitments such as work and family, to participate  in VET in higher education at their own pace. MCAST has spread the 120 ECTS degree over three years, offering three exit points:  a post-graduate certificate after the first 45 ECTS, a post-graduate diploma after 90 ECTS, and a master’s degree on completion of 90 ECTS and a 30 ECTS dissertation.

By linking competence-based development and research-based development this teaching method drives forward VET pedagogies, offering learners an experience different from that of traditional learning methods. Participants coming from diverse work sectors and disciplines go through their degree course as one cohort, supported by a team of professionals coming from education, educational policy, social sciences, sciences and industry. Through systematic engagement, systematic reflection and systematic research, and through the dynamic and interactive learning environment created by the team teaching approach, MVEAR4.0 promotes a holistic, yet flexible approach to VET in higher education and also addresses the challenges posed by Industry 4.0