NCU optimistic it will get institutional accreditation

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersajamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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THE Northern Caribbean University (NCU) should know by the end of this month whether it has received institutional accreditation from the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).

President of the Seventh-day Adventist institution Dr Lincoln Edwards made the announcement this week at the Jamaica Observer's Monday Exchange.

He said the university's administrators are very optimistic because the institution has already received a certificate of candidacy from the council, which is an indication that the NCU is “on its way”, and that the UCJ is pleased with its efforts. “So we anticipate that at the end of this month we will hear from the UCJ and hopefully we will have a further announcement to make on that matter,” he said.

Dr Edwards explained that in March a team from the UCJ and overseas examiners visited the Mandeville-headquartered university, to assess its readiness to receive institutional accreditation.

“They came, they assessed us, they gave us their recommendations and we have responded to those recommendations, so now it is in the hands of the UCJ. We were told that by the end of this month, we should have an answer,” he said.

He said the UCJ has also been working with the institution in its preparations. “The UCJ is doing an amazing job,” he remarked, pointing out that The University of the West Indies (UWI) is currently the only institution in the island that has institutional accreditation from the UCJ.

He noted that there are 10 other institutions slated to work with the UCJ to try to achieve this type of accreditation. As set out by the UCJ, institutional accreditation is the status granted to an institution that has been found to meet or exceed established standards for educational quality. It is the comprehensive evaluation of an institution and its academic and administrative effectiveness, with focus on the robustness of its internal quality assurance system and on overall systems, policies and practices of the institution and how they impact the quality of all programmes offered.

Dr Edwards pointed out that NCU already has institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools (AAA) which accredits all Adventist institutions. He said the agency will be returning to NCU in November to do another assessment.

Furthermore, he said the benefits of institutional accreditation from the UCJ will be extensive, as the council itself is International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) certified, which means that the NCU's programmes will have greater international recognition.

Meanwhile, Dr Edwards said the NCU has also worked with the Ministry of Education to attract overseas students. To this end, he said the institution now has permission from the United States Department of Education to allow veterans to use their federal benefits to enroll, in programmes at NCU.

“We are working with the ministry to make it possible for other students in the US to take their federal aid…so we appreciate the efforts the ministry is making to really expand educational opportunities,” he said.

Also, as part of its partnership with Government as a private institution, the university now provides spaces for students under the Career Advancement Programme (CAP), which is administered by the Ministry of Education.


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