Career & Education

NCU awarded institutional accreditation

Sunday, December 09, 2018

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Northern Caribbean University's (NCU's) application to the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) for institutional accreditation has been approved, making it the first local university with the designation.

The status is effective from February 17, 2018 for a period of seven years.

NCU President Dr Lincoln Edwards made the announcement on Thursday during a press conference at the university's main campus in Mandeville.

The new status means the university no longer needs to apply for accreditation for individual programmes it develops and offers. That, the university said, makes it more convenient to develop and bring new programmes to market.

The University of the West Indies (The UWI) also holds institutional accreditation, but it is distinct from NCU in that it operates regionally.

“Previously, NCU, like other tertiary institutions operating in Jamaica (except The UWI), had to apply periodically to UCJ for programme accreditation. We began in earnest earlier this year to apply for institutional accreditation, and we have received this designation for the maximum period of seven years allowed by the UCJ. At the end of the period, we will apply again, granted that we maintain all the required standards,” the university said.

According to Dr Edwards, among the general benefits of accreditation are:

• Affirmation by the government, regional/national accreditation agencies, or professional organisations enhances marketability and makes graduates more employable.

• Credits earned are transferable to other schools.

• Students who earn a degree from an accredited institution find it easier to gain acceptance for advanced studies at other schools and qualify for exams that license them for the practice of various professions.

• The public is provided with the assurance that new graduates have acquired the necessary knowledge, competence and skills to enter the profession for which they have studied.

• The process allows the institution to demonstrate how it aligns its efforts and resources to deliver on its value proposition.

• The process promotes transparency and demonstrates accountability to the stakeholders.

• The accreditation process is cyclical and seeks to foster continuous quality improvement.

Dr Edwards expressed appreciation to the representatives of the University Council of Jamaica and, by extension, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information for their support and guidance to the university in achieving the high standards required to gain institutional accreditation status.

NCU, with a student population of just over 3,000, offers some 100 graduate and undergraduate programmes, the bulk of which were individually accredited prior to its recent change in status.

NCU, owned and operated by the Adventist church in Jamaica, The Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, also holds institutional accreditation from Adventist Accrediting Association based in the US. This is the umbrella accrediting body for the second-largest network of privately owned higher education institutions in the world, of which NCU is part.

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