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Accreditation status of associate degrees from SVGCC questioned

Accreditation status of associate degrees from SVGCC questioned


Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has questioned whether the associate degrees offered at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) are accredited.

During the New Times radio programme yesterday, Eustace said a young lady {{more}}who had done an associate degree at the college tried using it to obtain entry into the University of the West Indies, but was denied access.

“We have a number of programmes at the Community College, where people are getting associate degrees, as you know, after two years. Part of the idea behind that is when you get those associate degrees, it takes some time off the amount of time you have to spend when you go to university itself,” Eustace said.

The Opposition Leader said there are approximately 16 subject areas that, were covered under the associate degree programme at the college and that, to his understanding, only two of these may be accredited.

In addition, Eustace observed that persons do these programmes because it is cheaper than spending an extra year at university. However, he noted that students are wasting their money, as these degrees have no worth in the end.

“In other words, you go through the programme, your children pass the associate degree, you have an associate degree, but it isn’t worth you anything, because it’s not accredited by the University of the West Indies. There is no value on it, so when you go through university now, you have to go through all the years without any year off,” he said.

“Are we saying to the young people now, who have already graduated with the associate degree that they are not worth anything? After they have spent the time and the energy and money of their parents to do the associate degree that they cannot get the benefits that they are promised? If they are not accredited, why are we doing it?”

Eustace called on the Government to explain the situation to the people of the country.

“I find it very hard to believe and I believe the Government will have to explain this very clearly to people to ensure that is not the case,” he said.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke yesterday with deputy director of the SVGCC Nigel Scott, who declined to comment and suggested we speak with a member of the National Accreditation Board (NAB).

We reached out to chair of the NAB Dr Rosalind Ambrose, but she was not in a position to respond before our deadline last night.

On November 14, 2013, however, the SVGCC was one of five tertiary establishments in SVG who received certificates from the NAB indicating that they are registered schools operating in St Vincent and the Grenadines. At that ceremony, Ambrose explained that the process of accreditation is geared toward ensuring quality education and highlighted some of the categories that are addressed in the process.

“Each [institution] is required to reveal their physical and academic capabilities, appropriate infrastructure and facilities, their governance, their faculty structure, student performance and support services,” she revealed. “Each institution is required to undertake self-study, self-assessment exercises, which provides introspection of the implementation of their policies, practices and procedures, and should reveal their strengths, weaknesses…in the continued pursuit of providing higher education,” Ambrose said then.

The chair stated that there were specific standards that must be carried out by the unit, based on what is acceptable according to the regional and international networks of quality assurance in higher education.

Ambrose also noted that a school is usually assessed by a team of local and regional personnel, to limit the biases that may infiltrate the process of accreditation.