At a press conference held today, Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar formally launched plans for the establishment of the University of Gibraltar. The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo QC, and the Minister for Education, Gilbert Licudi QC, gave details of the University and confirmed that the University is set to open for business on 1 September 2015.
The former St Christopher’s School site at Europa Point will be the core hub of the University. It will include a number of iconic buildings which lend themselves perfectly for use as a university. These will be refurbished with additional facilities built within the site.
There will be four faculties at the University as follows:
- Health Studies and Sports Science
- Business which will include specialisms in Accounting and Finance, Law as well as ICT
- Life and Earth Sciences and Gibraltar/Mediterranean Studies
- Tourism and Hospitality
The four faculties will provide a series of undergraduate and post-graduate programmes in collaboration with internationally recognized universities as well as locally developed courses including courses for qualifications in Gibraltar Tax and in Gibraltar Law. The University will also be a centre for research in key areas associated with Gibraltar’s culture, environment and heritage.
In addition, the University will include an Institute of Professional Development and Continuing Education. This will provide courses leading to professional qualifications, public and private sector continuing professional development and courses developed to meet industry needs in Gibraltar.
A further component of the University will be a language centre for the teaching of English as a foreign or business language. More and more, English is being seen not only as a useful everyday language but as the international language of business. There is a huge demand for this and Gibraltar is particularly well placed to become a centre of excellence in this area.
During the press conference, Mr Licudi revealed plans for the development of student accommodation in order to be able to attract international students. Two sites have been identified in the Europa Point area for this. These can be developed over different phases to provide accommodation for over two hundred students and visiting professors.
Last month, the Government published a Supplementary Appropriation Bill for the sole purpose of providing funding of £10 million to the University. The Bill is expected to be debated in the next session of Parliament.
The establishment of the University in no way signals any departure from Government policy to fund on a mandatory basis Gibraltar students who wish to study in the UK. The Department of Education’s scholarship scheme will continue to operate as it currently does.
In a statement by the Chief Minister he said that “This is a fantastic day for Gibraltar as a whole. The University will be very much a part of the whole community and will bring prestige to Gibraltar and benefits to both the public and private sectors.”
Minister Licudi went on to add “It is a huge satisfaction for the Government to see our dream of establishing a University of Gibraltar take shape and be so close to becoming a reality. We have no doubt that the University will develop over time to become an important institution in a number of fields as a much sought-after centre for research and study. We are seeing the birth of something which I am sure we will all be very proud of.”