Barbados??? National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is now in draft and will soon be piloted.

This was revealed today by Project Coordinator of the Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS), Maureen Pollard.

She was speaking at an inception workshop held by the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC) addressing the Development of the Barbados National Qualifications Register (NQR) that is to complement the NQF.

Speaking at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Ms. Pollard said of the draft NQF: ???The purpose of the framework is to allow us to map our various qualifications, starting from the very entry level access – qualifications from your basic CXCs up to the doctoral level.???

Explaining that the next stage of the NQF would be to pilot it, she said: ???We have suggested that we could start with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector because that sector has a lot of peculiarities and what we wanted to do was to be able to map academic qualifications with the technical and vocational type qualification.???

The project coordinator noted that both the NQR and the NQF were part of the HRDS, forming Pillar Two of this strategy, and that there was a need to harmonise qualifications.

???For example, with the CSME movement of persons across the region, we want to make sure that when we speak about someone???s qualification that it is the same whether you are talking about Barbados or Jamaica.

“You also want to make sure that whether it???s an employer or individual, how they interpret the framework ??? so that when you say someone has a Certificate in IT that it means the same thing whether you are speaking about that certificate at BCC or at UWI.

???And, that based on the number of credit hours that the person may have spent in the certificate programme, you would know whether it is a level two or three or four type programme. So it helps the employer, to be able to understand when somebody comes to him or somebody applies for a job exactly what that qualification really means.???

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the BAC, Valda Alleyne, supporting Ms. Pollard said: ???The NQF will not only serve the very important purpose of enabling Barbadians to move from entry level right up but also provide access across levels of educations.

“It will show the levels of qualifications you have; you have recognition of prior learning experience where persons with no certification but have skills can be recognised for those skills and it goes right up to the doctoral and technical vocational areas as well where the qualifications framework will match those qualifications.???

BAC???s Executive Director further noted that the NQR was the database that would host those qualifications, so that employers, students, parents/guardians can access the qualifications remotely.

???It is very important for Barbados to keep abreast and be part of the whole global networking in terms of the qualifications framework. Of course it helps our people to move regionally and internationally because employers overseas can look to see where Barbadian qualifications match against foreign qualifications,??? Ms. Alleyne declared.

The NQR is being designed and developed by consultants NQR Team Leader, Dr. Fortunato Da Costa; and NQR IT Expert, Dr. Peter Denny.

The consultancy period is initially 18 months and it is expected that the first design of the NQR will come in six months, following which the Ministry of Labour and Social Security will test the design. The NQR is expected to be rolled out over a three-year period.

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