Ac­cred­i­ta­tion is not be-all, end-all

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION&COMMENTARY -

THE EDI­TOR, Sir:

IREFER to The Gleaner ar­ti­cle pub­lished on UTech pro­grammes on Novem­ber 4, 2016. I am a newly ap­pointed mem­ber of the UTech Coun­cil and so I will not com­ment on the spe­cific is­sue as it re­lates to UTech, ex­cept to note that The Gleaner seems to have for­got­ten or missed the full and laud­able con­text of the act­ing pres­i­dent’s com­ments.

Many years ago, I rep­re­sented the stu­dent body on the then CAST Coun­cil, when Dr Sang­ster was CEO/prin­ci­pal and Pro­fes­sor Les­lie Robinson was coun­cil chair.

The Gleaner ar­ti­cle re­ferred to con­sis­tent ad­vice from the Univer­sity Coun­cil of Ja­maica (UCJ) to stu­dents to check on in­sti­tu­tion and pro­gramme ac­cred­i­ta­tion be­fore en­rol­ment, and im­plied re­minders of de­fec­tive de­grees for hold­ers of de­grees be­fore in­sti­tu­tion and pro­gramme ac­cred­i­ta­tion by as­sert­ing that retroac­tiv­ity in ac­cred­i­ta­tion is not pos­si­ble. My ques­tion is, so what?

Do I now claim fee re­funds from the doc­tors and lawyers who all treated me/worked for me, who all grad­u­ated from UWI be­fore in­sti­tu­tional ac­cred­i­ta­tion? Do I de­mand they now go back to UWI be­fore I go back to see them? Do I de­mand that the ar­chi­tects and con­struc­tion engi­neers trained by UTech long ago stop work­ing im­me­di­ately and rob the coun­try of the clear ex­per­tise they have? Do we re­duce the pay of staffers at the univer­si­ties and at the UCJ who were taught by grad­u­ates of UWI and UTech in un­ac­cred­ited pro­grammes years back ?

I am a proud grad­u­ate of CAST/UTech, and my pro­gramme and all the other un­ac­cred­ited pro­grammes at all other ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions have served us well, pre­par­ing lead­ers of busi­ness, academia and heads of govern­ment. We have served our coun­try with these un­ac­cred­ited qual­i­fi­ca­tions and what we have done with them tes­tify to the qual­ity of the pro­grammes.

This does not mean we must not now use the be­lated ap­proval sys­tem to set­tle ac­cred­i­ta­tion, but can we at least re­spect more the great legacy (in its work, its grad­u­ates and their con­tri­bu­tion) of this in­sti­tu­tion es­tab­lished since 1958 ?

GROWN UP

We are like less-well-off chil­dren who long wanted to keep com­pany with our rich neigh­bours’ chil­dren, and now that we have grown up and have more means, we clearly feel that a lit­tle more un­der­stand­ing in some li­brary books we read late into the night now give us the right to neg­a­tively pro­nounce on the ef­fi­cacy of the way our par­ents and house­holds raised us, who/which did the best they could.

Let’s all stop the non­sense and come to­gether to sup­port and bet­ter fund ALL our pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing and show some bet­ter recog­ni­tion, re­ward and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the sac­ri­fice of so many peo­ple, past and present. This is nei­ther the time for hubris, re­crim­i­na­tion or blame games. For once, let’s stop look­ing for head­lines.

I won­der what Ed­ward Gab­bidon, the English his­to­rian, meant when he said: “Re­venge is prof­itable, grat­i­tude is ex­pen­sive.” Per­haps both Govern­ment and so­ci­ety need to all stop be­ing so cheap – in our spend and in our words!

MICHAEL MCANUFF-JONES Liguanea, Kingston 6

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