60 cour­ses at UTech not ac­cred­ited

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - An­dré Poyser Staff Re­porter an­dre.poyser@glean­erjm.com

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 self­e­val­u­a­tion, 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.

GYLES

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