From left: Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnics Canada, Nobina Robinson; Principal of the Barbados Community College, Gladstone Best; President of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges,??James Knight and President and CEO of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Karen McBride,??participating in the press conference. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

There are development gains for the individual and his country when a student or faculty member undertakes an exchange programme.

This was underlined by Principal of the Barbados Community College (BCC), Gladstone Best, during a panel discussion hosted at his institution, on April 30, to coincide with the visit by Canadian Governor General, His Excellency David Johnston.

The discussion, entitled: The Contribution of Community Colleges To Employability and Economic Prosperity, saw Mr. Best speaking on the subtheme:?? The Importance of Transferability of Credentials from Country to Country and Region to Region.

.He said: "It is all about development, not just about the individual but development of the country. When a person transfers to another institution overseas, wherever it might be, and that person goes and gets additional qualifications and comes back he/she is coming back with value-added and he/she is transferring technology, knowledge and skills to help build the nation.

"So, it is building and development of the individual for personal growth but it is also about the nation, particularly where it is a developing country that needs all of the additional skills that it can develop."
While contending that economic blocs were a reality and were expanding, he said that as these grew and stabilised the movement of people was becoming extremely important.?? He explained: "When people migrate the first thing that they want to do is they want to be able to carry their credentials and expand on them.?? They want to build on the foundation that they have.

"Or, if they go without skills they want to acquire skills and in many instances, the Community Colleges and technical colleges like BCC and its associated members in the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions are usually the first responders in this particular area of education."

Acknowledging the heightened emphasis on cooperation between Canada and Barbados in the area of education, Mr. Best pointed out that his College continued to make good use of exchanges not merely with respect to students but faculty as well. While stating that one faculty member had just returned from a programme at Lambton College of Arts and Technology in Canada, he noted: "And, that has worked well because of the transferability of credentials."

He said: "So we have to ensure that the qualifications we have presented to the students… are transferable. Transferable not only at the point of graduation but transferable within the programme – that’s what make the faculty exchanges work so well."

Explaining that within BCC’s exchange programme, students transferred their credits, the Principal stressed: "That is extremely important and that relies on the confidence of the institution that is sending as well as the confidence of the institution that is receiving. And, this is done through building quality curriculum through competency -based training and education.

"So, by adhering to regional and international standards by building in their quality assurance from the ground up we are assuring the students that when they move, their qualifications move with them; their credits move with them, their entire certifications move with them."

Meanwhile, in addressing the same topic, President of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, Karen McBride, noted that credential transfer was "a broad international issue particularly at the university level, being driven by changes in Europe," among others.

She said: "We need to ensure our national credential frameworks actually harmonise; they don’t need to be homogenous but there is an international movement afoot to see how we can harmonise national qualifications frameworks. That’s a good thing for our countries and a good thing for our students."??


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