For thousands of students pursuing tertiary education in their second year or upwards, the new academic year will begin tomorrow. New students start a week later. In recent weeks, the University administration has taken several decisions to ensure that students have as normal an academic year as possible.
After a year and a half of online lessons with little activity on campus, from Monday students from the second year onwards will return to the University of Malta at Tal-Qroqq for a new academic year. The Rector of the University, Professor Alfred Vella, said that 70% of the lessons will be held in the classes as before, with the difference that students will wear masks and maintain physical distance. He explained that lessons with a large number of students, more than 70, will work a system where the group will be divided into two: some will be physically present in the classroom or hall and the rest will follow virtually. .
“The PR – P – physical, R – remote, where the large group is split in two. For example Group A is the physical (P) while Group B is the Remote group following lectures via remote means.This alternate mode of physical-remote would mean that all university students will have the opportunity to come back to campus and experience student life because online learning as we were forced to do in this past year and a half, is not a happy experience for students. ”
First-year students will start University one week later, on 4 October, with a week of activities. University Student Council President Neil Zahra said this week will take a slightly different shape to the way it was before.
“It will be a freshers week with the difference that students have to book certain slots depending on the day and see what’s available and get to know and adjust to the University … obviously in a controlled environment, with masks, entrances and exits. ”
Students on campus said they were looking forward to meeting lecturers and other students again.
“We are very happy … we believe that online lectures are not fair … university involves a much greater experience which means being here on campus, meeting your colleagues and actually enjoying the full University experience.”
“I’m excited … I’m going up to second year and last year I was always online and I don’t know what University is about … so I’m very excited to finally live experience University life, meet new people … it will be a new experience I think. ”
The same pattern will take place at Junior College. Second year students start on Monday while new students will their post-secondary experience from Monday 4 October.