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Useful discussion on accreditation of the SVGCC programmes and matriculation

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Fri, Sep 19, 2014

The discussion presently being had about the accreditation of the Associate Degree programmes being offered by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) is timely and useful.

The context in which the discussion is being had may be somewhat uncomfortable for the college, but that institution, this country’s premier indigenous tertiary level place of learning, should see the current spotlight as a golden opportunity to have a frank and open exchange about their programmes with key stakeholders, now that they have everyone’s full attention.{{more}}

The charge is presently being made that the Associate Degree programmes offered by the college are not accredited and are of no value in helping students matriculate into the University of the West Indies.

The claim, when made earlier this week by the Leader of the Opposition was alarming, and resonated among the people for two main reasons. Firstly, many Vincentians, particularly school leavers and those in low to mid-level positions in the workforce are in a certification-seeking mode and grab affordable opportunities for educational advancement whenever they present themselves. Secondly, the National Accreditation Board (NAB) has been, for sometime now, loudly sounding the warning that students should ensure, before embarking on courses of study, that the institutions with which they engage, are accredited.

So how then, could our own community college be among the culprits?

Accreditation of an educational institution or its programmes, and the ability of its graduates to matriculate, are two very important and related, yet different concepts.

While graduates of the SVGCC have been gaining entry into universities around the world, the college is still in the process of seeking accreditation for some its Associate Degree programmes – a fact that it has never hidden.

In August 2010, just prior to the commencement of the 2010/2011 academic year, then director of the SVGCC Dr Joel Warrican, in an op-ed published in Searchlight acknowledged the concern of some that the Associate Degrees offered by the SVGCC were not accredited. He said at the time that absence of accreditation does not mean that the Associate Degrees lack value, since students graduating with these degrees in countries across the region have been accepted into bachelor’s degree programmes regionally and internationally – they have been matriculating and there is ample proof of this.

We publish in today’s paper, stories in which Professor Alan Cobley, Pro Vice Chancellor and Chair, Board for Undergraduate Studies, Mona, UWI, and Nigel Scott, deputy director of the SVGCC state definitively that the college’s Associate Degrees can and are being used to matriculate into the UWI.

Everyone would like to know that his or her college or university degree comes from an accredited institution. The fact it, accreditation is a process that takes many years. Many persons may not realize that the UWI, which has been in existence since 1948, was only accredited a few years ago, even while it was turning out graduates of distinction who have made their mark around the world.

But the awareness and education achieved by the present discussion is good and much more far reaching than all the speeches given by officials of the SVGCC and the NAB in the past. Prospective students are however urged always to be vigilant and seek clarification about any academic programme before committing themselves.

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