The University Council of Jamaica was established by an Act of Parliament in 1987 as the national quality assurance body for tertiary education to ensure quality through the adoption and improvement of educational standards. The UCJ is a statutory body currently under the portfolio of the Minister of Education.
The membership of the governing body of the Council is drawn from the public and private sectors, professional bodies and societies and academic institutions, appointed by the Minister with whom the portfolio resides. The UCJ is currently headed by Executive Director, Dr Yvonnette Marshall. Previous Executive Director, Dr Ethley London headed the Council from its inception in 1987 until April of 2011.
The Council has assisted many tertiary institutions to develop and adopt a quality assurance culture. It has also assisted two Colleges in their attainment of university status. The UCJ registers institutions and this signifies that the institutions have met the minimum operating standards required for the conduct of a tertiary institution in Jamaica. Once registered, institutions are eligible to submit their programmes for accreditation. The UCJ effects programme accreditation. As at March 2011, the UCJ has registered 50 tertiary institutions (public and private) that have met the stated criteria of educational quality. The Council also currently monitors 200 programmes which it has accredited, including 24 offered by 11 overseas institutions.