Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Are unaccredited degrees worthless?

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I stumbled upon a recent Gleaner online poll posing the question, 'Are unaccredited degree programmes in Jamaica worthless?' Of course, the majority, a whopping 76 per cent of respondents, felt these degrees were, in fact, worthless.

After doing some research, it was surprising to learn that many institutions in Jamaica are actually allowed to offer unaccredited degrees. Some of these institutions are actually well established, and they offer some degrees on the basis that they will eventually get accreditation after the programme goes through its full life cycle producing the first batch of graduates.

This makes no sense, as there must be an element of fraud or misrepresentation somewhere, as I am certain that many of the students graduating from these programmes may not even realise they are not accredited, as they are not advertised as such. Employers may also be reluctant to accept these degrees as a standard for qualification, leaving many confused and in the lurch.

The Ministry of Education and accrediting bodies such as University Council of Jamaica should immediately reform the process, and how they deal with accreditation, and rectify this problem sooner rather than later, to protect the interests of vulnerable students before they invest large sums in their post-secondary education.

I agree with the suggestion that institutions, rather than their individual degree programmes, should be accredited.

I am sure if the degree or diploma is advertised as 'unaccredited', no one would enrol in it!