Tertiary Education Commission to be Established


The Ministry of Education, in keeping with the recommendations of the Education Task Force, will be setting up a Tertiary Commission to manage the sector.
The role of this Commission will be to govern the development and implementation of policy at the macro level and coordinate quality assurance and accreditation of all institutions, articulation between institutions and tertiary financing, among other things.
Education, Youth and Culture Minister, Maxine Henry Wilson in her contribution to the 2005/2006 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 10), said the setting up of the Commission was important in ensuring “value added” in the sector and to improve access to post secondary and tertiary education to 50 per cent of the population by 2015.
She noted that tertiary education, “provided real stimulus for economic growth, development and social cohesion as it creates the skilled manpower, the capacity for problem definition and problem solving as well as the generation of ideas and innovation.” Mrs. Henry Wilson told the House, that external and internal forces had compelled the Ministry to rethink its approach to post secondary and tertiary education to seek to modernize the policies that governed the sector. “There needs to be articulation between post secondary and tertiary institutions if we are to optimise our available resources,” she pointed out.
She noted, that while the island’s three main universities – University of Technology (UTech), University of the West Indies (UWI) and Northern Caribbean University (NCU) – were creating their own niche and clientele, they must be part of the Ministry’s strategic planning process, which speaks to issues such as the development of an institutional mandate; budgeting processes; enrolment standards; quality assurance; registration; and accreditation of programmes/institutions to agreed standards.
She pointed out that community colleges were critical towards the attainment of tertiary level education as they “offered the best and most practical ‘as is’, ‘where is’ in educational opportunities. Mature students who cannot leave home to study, individuals who want to qualify in foundational subjects, should be able to do so close to home.”
She stated further, that the massive investment in information technology has enabled the community colleges to network to increase offerings. “This kind of linkage within and between institutions is inevitable if a genuine tertiary network with the required synergies is to be created. We need a modern network rather than a scattering of tertiary institutions,” she explained, noting that eight colleges have so far been connected.
Mrs. Henry Wilson also suggested, that the community colleges could follow the example of the teacher training colleges, by collaborating with local and international universities to offer degree programmes.

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