There is no doubt that tertiary level education and training play a critical role in ensuring social and economic sustainability in today’s increasingly competitive and unpredictable global environment.
However, in the increasingly complex tertiary education landscape, marked by rapid advances in educational technologies, new learning modalities, growing demand for flexible learning, shifting learner demographics, influence of foreign providers and the many other dynamics
shaping the sector, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine what constitutes quality in tertiary education.
Overcoming such challenges is critical to the survival and legitimacy of any quality assurance agencies today, including the University Council of Jamaica.
Conscious of the changing education landscape, the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) has demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement of its own processes and operates in a manner consistent with international best practice in external quality assurance The UCJ has made significant progress in refining its operations since its establishment in 1987, by implementing new quality assurance services and procedures that ensure greater depth in its review of institutional practices and closer monitoring of registered and accredited institutions and programmes.
As a result, students, parents, employers, government and other key stakeholders are assured that graduates of tertiary level institutions are developing the knowledge and skills needed to meet the growing complexity of the country’s development challenges.Inspired by the vision of past and present leaders, including its Boards of Directors, the UCJ’s leadership team continues be champions of quality in tertiary education.
Throughout the years the UCJ has shared its expertise in quality assurance nationally through seminars, training workshops, publications, lectures and events within its quality assurance week typically hosted in March each year. While I may not be there in person I have learnt of the many informative and auspicious actives planned during the month of October to celebrate this important milestone. I also note the UCJ’s emphasis on sensitising the public on the importance and multi-faceted dimensions of quality in tertiary education, the importance of
establishing a quality culture, as well as systems, policies and practices that assure quality within institutions.
As the UCJ celebrates 30 years as the established quality assurance agency in Jamaica, it is important to acknowledge the pioneering vision of the UCJ’s first Executive Director, Dr Ethley London, who established CANQATE in 2004 and continues to provide her advice to the UCJ and other quality assurance professional across the region. Following in this leadership role, the UCJ continues to share its expertise in quality assurance across the Caribbean, providing invaluable advice to newly and well established quality assurance agencies, CARICOM, quality assurance professionals and support to CANQATE initiatives.
CANQATE looks forward to its continued collaboration with the UCJ and the other external quality assurance agencies throughout the Caribbean as we work towards the harmonisation of quality assurance practices throughout the region.
On behalf of the Board of Management of CANQATE, as well as the broader quality assurance community in the Caribbean, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the UCJ for turning 30 this year.