The benefits of programme approval by the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC) were yesterday outlined to over 50 educational providers, who offer post secondary/tertiary education and training on the island.

The comments were made when the BAC held its first ever workshop on the topic: Preparing for Programme Approval, at the PomMarine Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

Chairman of the BAC, Yvonne Walkes, in addressing the participants, noted that the training was in keeping with the Council’s mandate to provide for the "validation of new educational courses and programmes of study being offered by institutions operating in Barbados"

She said: "We, therefore, consider it imperative that tertiary educational providers have a clear understanding of the requirements for this recognition process as well as the benefits to be gained."??

Mrs. Walkes further explained that programme approval was a quality assurance process which ensures that a programme is appropriately designed and structured; has adequate resources (human, financial, physical, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); is consistent with the provider’s mission and has stated learning outcomes and assessment strategies set at an appropriate level for the qualification that would be awarded.

Explaining why a provider should seek approval of programmes, the BAC chairman added: "Globally, credible providers seek to have their programmes or courses of study validated by an external quality assurance agency as a means of sending a strong message of their commitment to quality and to assure stakeholders of value for money for educational provision."

While stating that as an external quality assurance agency, BAC was responsible for approving all new programmes of study on offer by educational providers; Mrs. Walkes said programme approval provided validity of the ability, in terms of inputs, of the provider to deliver a ???quality’ programme. She added that programme approval could also facilitate transferability of qualifications from one provider to another; provide national and international recognition of programmes.

Providers would also be allowed to use BAC’s stamp of approval for the duration of the programme for their own promotion and marketing purposes. The Council would also promote approved programmes through its own promotion and marketing mechanisms such as ???BAClight’ their bi-annual newsletter and their website http://www.bac.gov.bb/.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of BAC, Valda Alleyne, said the workshop marked another milestone in the life of the Council as it sought "to fulfil its mandate of enhancing tertiary education and training in Barbados".??

Explaining that the BAC would be moving vigorously to achieve this mandate, she said its objectives included designing and developing the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) which is a critical component of the 2011-2016 Human Resource

Development Strategy; continuing the registration and re-registration of tertiary educational providers; preparing said providers for accreditation including the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus and Open Campuses.

The Council would also seek to continue the evaluation of foreign-based qualifications presented by nationals and non-nationals seeking this recognition service for purposes such as employment, education or licensing.??

Acknowledging that the Council would also provide statements of recognition in relation to the accreditation of programmes of study and institutions, Ms. Alleyne said: "this service is particularly important given the prevalence of bogus institutions called "diploma mills" as well as "accreditation mills" which support such institutions."


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