Quality Tertiary Education Essential

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Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Patrick Todd??(FP)

There must be no compromise in the delivery of quality tertiary education and training in Barbados.

This was the strong message by Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Patrick Todd, who said all stakeholders, namely students, employers, professional bodies, the entrepreneurial sector and the general public, would be affected.

"Those who will be affected are the students who must benefit from the teaching and learning process; the employers who benefit from the requisite skills and knowledge needed for high organisational productivity and performance; professional bodies which benefit from qualified graduates; the entrepreneurial sector which needs creativity and innovation; and the general public who would benefit from an improved standard of living," Mr. Todd stated.

He made the comments yesterday during the launch of the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE) Core Group at Hotel PomMarine.

Mr. Todd told the gathering that accountability and continuous improvement must be the focus of institutions, as investment in the education sector could be costly. He noted that over the past three financial years, Government’s investment in education as a percentage of GDP had been in the range of seven per cent, which, he added, could be considered high for a small developing state.

He said Barbadians expected tertiary educational institutions to deliver quality programmes and courses and provide adequate learning resources or access to such resources. "Tertiary educational providers should, therefore, seek to establish internal quality assurance processes and systems where none exists, or improve these systems where they may be deficient.

Through the use of effective internal quality assurance systems, educational providers would be able to determine whether the institution’s goals and objectives are being achieved, based on its mission and purpose," he explained.

Mr. Todd pointed out that the building and sustaining of a quality assurance and enhancement culture must be pursued vigorously at the regional level by tertiary educational providers, external quality assurance agencies and through developmental support.

CANQATE is a sub-regional network of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education and its goals include promoting and assisting in the implementation of best practices in quality assurance in tertiary education and supporting and advising CARICOM and other Caribbean regional bodies on matters pertaining to a regional framework for quality assurance, among other purposes.

CANQATE Core Groups have also been established in Belize, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and the functions include advancing quality assurance within member countries.

saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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