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The cutting edge of accreditation

Published: 
Thursday, March 10, 2016

Programme accreditation is critical to successful implementation of programmes offered by universities around the world. It is proof that an individual or academic institution meets required standards of quality. 

Unlike programme accreditation, institutional accreditation is awarded on an evaluation of whether an institution meets specified minimum standards such as staff qualifications, research activities, student intake and learning resources. 

One institution in T&T to achieve such accreditation is the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC). It was an historic moment three years ago, when the USC became the first private religious institution to be given that status by the Accreditation Council of T&T (ACTT). Since then, the university has been continuously increasing its capacity and strengthening its collaborative efforts with various stakeholders. 

For the USC, accreditation goes beyond the ACTT—it has also been recognised by the Accrediting Association of Seventh-Day Adventist Schools, Colleges and Universities, the denominational accrediting authority for all tertiary and graduate educational programmes at Seventh-Day Adventist Church institutions. 

Given the elements involved in the accreditation process, including management and administrative operations, requirements for residential and distance education programmes, educational administration and faculty qualifications, student recruitment and admission policies and practices, cost and quality must be considered. 

USC’s President Dr Sylvan Lashley explained: “Excellence in service quality is extremely important to the continuous growth and success of the USC and therefore we are always cognisant of the cost of quality in this regard, particularly as we serve a multi-faceted stakeholder base locally, regionally and internationally.”

He said the success of institutional accreditation must be viewed from holistic lens, understanding the alignment to the cost of quality, which allows an organisation to determine the extent to which its resources are being utilised effectively. 

“When equipped with such information, our institution will be well poised to ascertain the potential savings to be gained through the implementation of process improvements” said Dr Lashley.

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