JIS News

The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) is currently processing 25 programmes for accreditation from eight institutions.
The programmes include: three masters, 12 bachelors, eight associates, one diploma, one certificate in the areas of education, library studies, the performing arts, urban and regional planning, information technology, human resource management, environmental studies, business studies, architecture and construction technology, biology, and public health.
As set out in a Ministry Paper that was tabled in the House of Representatives by Minister of Education, Andrew Holness on May 20, the UCJ has registered 47 tertiary institutions (public and private) that have met the stated criteria of educational quality.
Additionally, it currently monitors 138 programmes which it has accredited in 33 institutions, including 17 offered by eight overseas institutions. This represents an enrollment of over 50,000 students. The UCJ is currently processing requests from two institutions for registration.
The UCJ has also distinguished itself in several other areas. It has promoted and fostered the phenomenal growth in accessibility to recognized and accredited tertiary qualifications; provided criteria for standards acceptable not only in Jamaica, but regionally and internationally; and facilitated the mobility of skilled Jamaicans for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
As the quality assurance body for tertiary education in Jamaica, the UCJ is cognizant of the changing landscape of tertiary education and has to adjust accordingly.
The UCJ is strengthening and developing its policies and procedures and also re-shaping its organization in order to better respond to change and enhance its pro-active stance in addressing foreseeable challenges, the Paper says.
The UCJ, in charting its strategic direction, has noted the following trends: an increase in the number of educational providers at the tertiary level using varying modalities of delivery; an increase in the number of diploma/degree mills and other providers of questionable quality; and a growing demand for increased access to higher education on the part of the Jamaican public is also expected to continue.
There has also been increased involvement in regional matters, including: the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, through the CARICOM Free Movement of Skilled Persons Act; the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education launched by the UCJ; requests by regional quality assurance bodies, tertiary institutions and governments to provide guidance in areas of quality assurance; a heightened need for research in tertiary education and technological developments which continue to play an integral role in the offering of services demanding that the UCJ keeps pace with change.
Organizational strengthening, customer satisfaction and public awareness are the factors which are deemed critical to the future success of the UCJ, the document points out.