Research and Policy Unit

“Knowledge generated by research is the basis of sustainable development,
which requires that knowledge be placed at the service of development,
be converted into applications and be shared to ensure widespread benefits,”

Mary-Louise Kearney, UNESCO Director, Forum on Higher Education, Research & Knowledge

In recent years we have witnessed a growing interest in strengthening the link between research and educational policymaking. This is evidenced by the attention of the European Commission to the issue of how data can be utilised to inform educational policy and how these processes might be improved. Evidence informed policy and practice in education is, in fact, one of the immediate priorities of the European Commission as described in the ET2020 strategic framework.

As such, the data collection component of research represents an essential element of the Research & Policy Unit within the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA). Data-driven decisions are essential to improve learning especially at a national level now more than ever in the face of a year of extremes and shifting paradigms on a global scale as witnessed in the past year.

These are among the objectives behind the setting up of the Research and Policy Unit as regulated by the Education Act (Cap. 27 of the Laws of Malta), “…to undertake research to guide policy development and standards that live up to and guide the growth and changes in the sector” and as established by Act II of 2020.

The Research and Policy Unit’s role is spread over several central functions which are all interrelated, positioning the groundwork for the further and higher educational sphere on a national and international level.

Accurate data collection is essential to maintaining the integrity of research which, in turn, is essential for the development of national policies and strategies. This process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest in an established systematic fashion, permits the MFHEA to answer specific research questions, test hypotheses and evaluate outcomes. To ensure this the Research and Policy Unit fulfils its role through the undertaking of a number of projects.​