CMI catching up with accreditation demands
Ibrahim Ajagunna, Guest Columnist
Accreditation of tertiary-level programmes has recently become a topical issue. I would like to set the record straight for the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI). While many institutions in Jamaica are scrambling for students, the CMI is now full to capacity and bursting at its seams. It is also a fact that the CMI programmes are the most relevant in terms of student placement. This relevance has seen graduate students from the University of the West Indies, the University of Technology and Northern Caribbean University, among others, now enrolling in CMI's undergraduate and graduate programmes. This trend has been documented.
CMI is one of the most audited educational institutions in Jamaica today as it continues to seek global certification of its programmes. This global recognition includes certification by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) through its local partner, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ). This makes the CMI the only maritime institution in the Western Hemisphere to be 'whitelisted' by the said IMO. CMI has also secured institutional certification by ISO 9001:2008 through Lloyds of London. Both the MAJ and Lloyds of London undertake an annual audit of CMI programmes to ensure that the institute is compliant with international standards.
At the local level, the CMI has always enjoyed a good relationship with the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). In 2004, the Diploma in International Shipping & Logistics and the Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Systems Operations and Maintenance were both accredited by the UCJ. Since then, both programmes have been reaccredited. In 2009, CMI expanded its programme offerings to include five bachelor's degrees and the UCJ was formally advised of this development. This has been the practice of CMI, to inform the UCJ of its intention to offer any new programmes. These bachelor's degree programmes include:
Logistics and supply-chain management
Cruise shipping and marine tourism, and
In addition, the CMI has, on several occasions, invited representatives from the UCJ to share with its staff best practices within the educational landscape. The CMI staff has attended almost all quality seminars put on by the UCJ.
The UCJ requires of institutions to submit programmes (for which at least one cohort has graduated) for reaccreditation. In December 2007, in keeping with this, the CMI submitted to the UCJ, for accreditation, all programmes for which a cohort had graduated. The CMI has consistently informed its students of the state of accreditation of these programmes, including when the programmes were submitted and the responses received from UCJ.
Internal quality system
The Institute has an intensive internal quality system that is used for its standard operating procedures, but unfortunately, the institution cannot accredit its own programmes and must rely on UCJ to do this. This information can be verified with the UCJ. Currently, the following programmes (as well as a self-study) are with the UCJ for evaluation and for accreditation:
MSc logistics and supply-chain management;
BSc logistics and supply-chain management;
BSc port management;
BSc international shipping
BSc cruise shipping and marine tourism
BSc security administration and management
BEng industrial systems
Diploma in international Shipping and Logistics - for reaccreditation,
Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Systems Operations and Maintenance - for reaccreditation.
The CMI is now in the process of submitting the Bachelor of Science in Customs Processes, Freight Forwarding and Immigration and the Master of Science in Security Administration and Management (with cohorts due to graduate in 2015) to the UCJ, in due course.
At the same time, we are also seeking accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK) for all logistics- and shipping-related courses. We have also gained endorsement for the security administration and management degrees by the United States Homeland Security.
The University of the West Indies has been described as the only entity to have been granted institutional accreditation which provides comprehensive coverage for all its programmes. Amid the dialogue, I would like to ascertain what other institutions need to do to attain this status from UCJ. Until then, CMI continues to have high regard for the UCJ and is certain that the UCJ is doing everything within its capacity to have all its programmes accredited in the not too distant future.
For more on CMI, please visit www.cmi.edu.jm.
Ibrahim Ajagunna is director of academic studies at the Caribbean Maritime Institute. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org