Fri | Nov 24, 2017

UTech law gets accreditation - Vasciannie demands end to discrimination against university's students

Published:Monday | October 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Professor Stephen Vasciannie, president of the University of Technology.

The University Council of Jamaica (the UCJ) has granted accreditation to the LL.B programme offered by the University of Technology (UTech), a move that is expected to assist in the establishment of a law school at the tertiary institution.

The decision of the UCJ to grant accreditation to the UTech's LL.B programme was formally conveyed to Professor Stephen Vasciannie, president of the university, in a letter dated October 6 from the UCJ chairman, Dr Carolyn Hayle, and the council's executive director, Althea Heron.

The letter indicated that the grant of accreditation would be for the four-year period beginning July 1, 2016, which is the date on which the application was made. The UCJ's letter stated, inter alia: "The council congratulates the University of Technology, Jamaica, on having attained accreditation for this programme and looks forward to a strengthening of the relationship between the institution and the University Council of Jamaica as together we strive for excellence in higher education in Jamaica."

In reacting to news of the accreditation, Vasciannie noted that accreditation for the law programme would be especially beneficial to current students and graduates of the university.

"Accreditation should certainly assist the university in moving forward with its effort to establish a law school at the University of Technology, Jamaica - the Jamaica Law School - fully recognised by the Government of Jamaica and other Caribbean Governments," Vasciannie said.

The UTech president's comment came against the background of University of the West Indies graduates having automatic entry into the Norman Manley Law School, while UTech graduates are required to sit an entrance examination to gain entry to that law school. The Norman Manley Law School currently has a monopoly on the grant of the Certificate of Legal Education for law students in Jamaica.

For the current year, 22 graduates of the University of Technology, Jamaica's LL.B programme have gained entrance to the Norman Manley Law School on the basis of the entrance examination. In some previous years, the number of students gaining entrance from this examination was very low.

"Our basic request is that the Government of Jamaica put an end to a system of law-school training that discriminates against University of Technology, Jamaica students. The Government of Jamaica should not allow discrimination against its own university," Vasciannie added.