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Fixing UTech | 60 courses at UTech not accredited

Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 11:00 AMAndre Poyser
Gyles

There are 60 courses of study at the University of Technology (UTech) that are currently not accredited but are being offered to students.

The revelation was made by UTech's acting president, Professor Colin Gyles.

Gyles, who was speaking at the installation ceremony for Richard Powell as the university's fourth pro-chancellor, said the institution has been facing a number of challenges in getting courses accredited by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).

He said a decision has been taken for UTech to seek institutional accreditation from the UCJ instead of course-by-course accreditation.

"There are some 60 courses of study which our stakeholders are anxious to have accredited. And so given the considerable amount of time and resources it has taken for us to get to this point, it is only prudent that as a maturing institution, UTech seek institutional accreditation as part of our mandate to satisfy the requirements for quality assurance in all our academic offerings," he told the small audience that had gathered for the installation ceremony.

Institutional accreditation can, however, be a long and costly process.

As of February this year, the only institution of higher learning in Jamaica with institutional accreditation is the University of the West Indies.

Accreditation is the status granted to an institution or programme that has been found, through self-study and peer review, to meet or exceed stated guidelines of educational quality. Accreditation is a voluntary activity that promotes self-evaluation, self-regulation, and accountability.

The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) has, on several occasions, issued warnings to students about signing up for unaccredited programmes.

 

Check before enrolling

 

The Council has urged persons to do their due diligence and check the registration and accreditation status of universities and colleges before enrolling at the institution.

The UCJ has said that there are several reasons that drive the need for an institution or programme's status to be thoroughly investigated, chief among them being the upsurge of fraudulent behaviour in the academic realm worldwide, including the sale of fake degrees, which means that persons have to ensure that the academic programmes they wish to pursue are legitimate.

The Council has also noted that accreditation is not retroactive, meaning that persons who graduate from an unaccredited programme of study will not automatically benefit from accredited status being assigned to their degrees, if the institution receives accreditation for the programme, after the course has been completed.

andre.poyser@gleanerjm.com