Some educational institutions in Guyana are reportedly at a disadvantage, since they have been faced with some level of difficulty in securing an accredited status from the National Accreditation Council. And this state of affairs has been linked to reports that the Council has not been operating optimally.
In fact, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission’s (PSC) Sub-committee on Communications, Kit Nascimento, recently disclosed that “there are a number of education organisations in this country that have been seeking accreditation and the National Accreditation Council has some catching up to do.”
Nascimento revealed too that “from experience elsewhere, the Council has not been, until recently, functioning, and I am not altogether certain if it is even functioning fully yet.” He intimated too that there are a lot of applications with the Council and “it is indeed a significant process from registration to accreditation.”
Nascimento’s remarks were forthcoming even as this publication sought to enquire of the accreditation status of the Texila American University, which recently became a member of the PSC.
According to the University’s Director of International Operations, Ashok Kumar, while the medical institution has been registered, it is yet to be accredited. The private institution was registered since 2010 and offers mainly medical programmes including Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing.
It was just a few months ago that Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, disclosed that moves were being made to amend the Accreditation Act with a view of allowing the Accreditation Council to not only have the authority to accredit individual programmes but also entire institutions.
And the plan to amend the local Accreditation Act is not unique to Guyana, since according to the Minister, it is supported by the Caribbean with moves already being made to accredit institutions.
Manickchand noted that “we are amending the Act to give additional power to the Accreditation Council to deal with entire institutions rather than programmes alone.”
“This makes sense…If we are to accredit programme by programme then the kind of resources necessary would be very, very burdensome for offshore type universities,” said the Education Minister.
The amendment, she disclosed, will be made to Section 4(3) (c) of the National Accreditation Council Act Number 12 whereby it grants the Accreditation Council the power to do institutional accreditation.
Already regulations have been drafted under the Accreditation Act, which the Minister had said in May was being reviewed before being sent to the National Assembly. However, before reaching to the National Assembly, the draft regulation was expected to be sent to the Chambers of the Attorney General to be finalised.
Although this publication was unable to solicit a comment from members of the Council, Nascimento is among those who are convinced that the Accreditation Council has a great deal of work to do in terms of its accreditation role.
But even without accreditation, the Texila University has been able to acquire two local campuses, one located at Woolford Avenue, Georgetown, and another at Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara, which cater to both foreign and local students. Local students account for just over 20 per cent of the university’s population, which according to Kumar, is made up of approximately 300 students.
According to Nascimento, the PSC made the bold decision to embrace the University in light of the importance of education. He expressed his conviction that “we are at the moment in great difficulty in Guyana, in that all too often our best students leave and don’t return.”
This state of affairs, he said, has contributed to a difficulty in realising efficient, well trained and well educated middle management personnel with a general knowledge of the country and of world affairs in which businesses are required to function and compete.
Moreover, he noted that anything that increases the level of knowledge or any activity that increases the level of education is absolutely vital to development.
Against this backdrop, Nascimento said “we should welcome any significant and serious investment in broadening the educational opportunity in this country.”
“I do not know what the policy of Texila is but I hope that part of it is to encourage the students they qualify to return and serve their country from which they came,” added an optimistic Nascimento.
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