The Importance of Accreditation
One of the first steps any prospective student should take before enrolling in a college or university, is to verify whether or not the school is accredited by a recognised accrediting agency. The University Council of Jamaica (See http://ucj.org.jm) is the national accrediting agency for tertiary programmes recognised by the Government of Jamaica.
Any programme must graduate a full cohort of students prior to being granted accreditation. With the establishment of J-TEC, the registration of institutions will be mandatory.
What is Accreditation?
According to the UCJ, accreditation is the status granted to an institution or programme that has been found, through self-study and peer review, to meet or exceed stated guidelines of educational quality. Accreditation is a voluntary activity that promotes self-evaluation, self-regulation and accountability. The role of the accrediting body is to ensure quality through encouraging the improvement of educational standards.
Why is Accreditation Important?
The UCJ notes that accreditation provides students with an assurance that the educational programme(s) of an institution have been found to be satisfactory and should therefore meet the needs of the student.
An award from an institution with an accredited programme provides:
- (a) Students with a prerequisite for entering a profession.
- (b) A basis for admission into further studies by both local and foreign educational institutions.
- (c) Assistance in the transfer of credits between institutions through the general acceptance of credits among accredited institutions and where the credits to be transferred are appropriate to the receiving institution.
UCJ and J-TEC
Generally, the University Council of Jamaica performs the function of external quality assurance by accrediting programmes and institutions. The oversight and regulation of the tertiary sector is the responsibility of J-TEC. A Directory of Registered Institutions will be made available to students when realised.