Sat | Jan 19, 2019

LETTER OF THE DAY - Change with the times, UCJ

Published:Tuesday | September 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM


I write in reference to the current 'storm' over the non-accreditation of programmes. While most commentary so far places the blame squarely at the feet of "dishonest" institutions, as a stakeholder with knowledge of the situation I have a different take on it.

In my opinion, the problem lies with inefficiencies at the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). Their processes and systems should be comprehensively reviewed and revised to ensure that, within a reasonable period, (say six months) an accreditation decision can be reached.

Those who cannot meet the standards would then quickly be exposed and we would not have the problem of persons waiting years and not knowing if their degree can be used.

It should not be that institutions that have been around for over 100 years are being denied accreditation because "we are going through the process" as this then gives the impression that something is wrong with the institution/course.

For example, why does the start of any work on accreditation have to wait on the graduation of a set of students?

While I agree that the final quality verdict should depend on interviewing a set of graduates to find out their experiences on the programme, I cannot see why ALL other verification work cannot be started from the moment the programme begins and completed by programme end. The final interview can then be made one week after graduation and the decision reached within weeks, not years.

The function of the regulator is to facilitate a quality education system of the highest standards and integrity.

When the policies and processes used by the regulator allow a few institutions to get a free pass while others struggle and are made to seem inferior, questions have to be raised over its operation.

The quality standards are important and should never be compromised, but there are several different ways of getting to the objective of verifying quality. It should not be that a methodology and requirements designed decades ago should always be followed no matter what.

Times change, change with the times.

Dudley Peter Barrett

Programme Manager - B&B University College Ltd

Approved Local Tutor