Education Providers Urged To Register With The BAC

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Providers of education on the island have been urged to get registered with the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC) in order to attain the next level – accreditation.

This plea came recently from Executive Director of BAC, Valda Alleyne, as the Council this month marked its fourth anniversary with an Open Day at its headquarters at Roebuck Street.

While acknowledging that approximately 26 providers had so far registered this year, Ms. Alleyne noted that there was still a need for registration of other institutions. She explained: "These providers have met the criteria for registration which allows them to legally operate. But, there are over 100 providers of tertiary education that need to come forward and be registered with the Council, as we receive requests on a regular basis from international recognition bodies inquiring whether an institution, public or private is accredited."

While Ms. Alleyne stressed that the Barbados Accreditation Council was diligently pursuing the issue of registration with the various institutions/providers, she maintained that it was a mandatory requirement by Government and, hence providers "should come forward to fulfill their legal obligation".

The Executive Director also pointed out that no institutions had been accredited since the Council’s accreditation had only commenced in 2009 and based on international experience, the accreditation process could take as long as two years for an institution. This is due to a comprehensive self evaluation process which required as part of the peer review.

She said: "Registration is mandatory, but accreditation is not, and to get providers to acquiesce to the process depends on the commitment to quality tertiary education by pursuing accreditation. But, we would hope that in another two years or so, the question wouldn’t be if institutions are accredited, but that they are accredited.

??"At this stage, what most countries or recognition bodies want to know is about the quality of the programmes or the institutions. We anticipate because of the increasing interest and awareness of the need for recognition of institutions and programmes of study, that the push will come, from the public, for accreditation. And, of course the Council’s mandate is to promote the need for accreditation."

The Executive Director pointed out that the notion of quality assurance was still relatively new to a number of the island’s institutions/providers. She added: "While we find that some institutions, which have been established may have gone through quality assurance processes and have management systems in place, we note from our own [the BAC’s] experience that those organisations might not have formalised their???? systems.

"So we have a developmental role of working with these institutions to ensure that the good institutional practices and procedures are documented and that they are not just existing in somebody’s head."

The BAC Head conceded that there was much work to be done. However, she indicated that the Council was committed to working with providers in order to ensure that they achieved registration and accreditation status soon.

This year’s list of institutions/providers of tertiary education that have secured registration with the Council, include Advantage Caribbean Institute Limited; Allied Health Career Institute; Barbados Association of Office Professionals; Barbados Civil Aviation Training Centre; Caribbean Centre for Conflict Management; Caribbean Management Education Centre (CariMEC) Inc.; Cross Cultural Training Centre of Barbados; Dermatological Institute of Barbados; Grace & Truth Critical Incident Training and Consultancies; Insurance Institute of Barbados Inc.; Interchange Language Institute; J’s Beauty Box Academy of Cosmetology; the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and the University of the Southern Caribbean.

They are considered to be "lawfully operating in Barbados" until December 31, 2010.?? jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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