Institutional accreditation has been granted to the University of the West Indies??? Open Campus for the period June 18, 2013 to June 17, 2019.
It was bestowed on the Campus today in a ceremony at Barbados Accreditation Council???s (BAC) headquarters on Roebuck Street.
Chairman of the Council, Yvonne Walkes, in handing over the certificate commended the Open Campus and said: ???Institutional accreditation by an authorised agency such as the BAC will give learners and the wider national community greater confidence in the quality of the overall operations of your Open Campus.
???Institutional Accreditation further signals to the international tertiary education and training community of Barbados??? commitment as a nation, to the provision of high quality post-secondary/tertiary education; and that our country???s training provides ???Value For Money???.
Ms. Walkes added that in order to be accorded accreditation status, all facets of the operations of the educational organisation, including its vision/mission; the quality of the educational provisions, educational goals and objectives, administrative effectiveness and all other related services were reviewed by the Accreditation body.
???Institutional accreditation therefore, seeks to assure stakeholders that the educational provider is operating at a high level of quality in all aspects of its operations,??? she stressed.
She gave the Open Campus the assurance that the Council would continue to work with it to assure the quality recognised via the certification would be ???maintained and continuously enhanced in the years to come???.
Open Campus??? Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal, Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald said that it was ???wonderful news??? and congratulated all her colleagues. She added that accreditation had become increasingly relevant in an environment in which the liberalisation of higher education would become effective under the terms of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
???Given the current competitive structure of the regional market for tertiary education, this development means that more than ever before, institutions of higher education will have to become more accountable to their various stakeholders,??? she explained.
It was further noted that from its establishment by Royal Charter and the support of 15 Caribbean governments, the UWI had adopted rigorous internal quality assurance measures for its programmes, including external reviews and examiners.
However, given the changing environment, the UWI took the decision to seek accreditation of the institution from the appropriate accrediting bodies in the region. Each of these bodies recognises and accepts the accreditation granted by the other.
Prof. Simmons McDonald also acknowledged that UWI Vice Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris, in welcoming this development, stated: ???This is a special moment for our University in that it legitimises our investment in open and distance education started in 2008. It also sets the stage for massive expansion of this modality of education in the Caribbean to be delivered by the University as a whole.???
The UWI Open Campus joins the Mona and the St. Augustine Campuses which were granted accreditation last year by the Councils in their respective territories, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.