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ON THE LEFT: Degrees must be accredited


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

ON THE LEFT: Degrees must be accredited

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Employers generally want two types of employees – those with specialist skills to perform the core work of the organization, and those with basic skills that support this core work. Depending on the products (whether goods or services), a small or large staff may be required to support the work of the specialists.
Specialists are expected to possess both the discipline and conscientious attention to detail required to offer a competent level of service. Professional specialists are typically university graduates whose services may be regulated by governments. The professional may be personally liable for any quantifiable damage that results when people follow their advice; therefore, their education must be complete and they must be well trained.
Efficient government departments have an adequate complement of professional and support staff. Inefficient government departments have too many or too few professional and/or support staff, which can result in some people having nothing to do for long periods. With that background, let us analyze Barbados’ future needs.
In my opinion, Barbados needs an efficient Government. This means that it needs an adequate number of specialists and support staff to carry out national functions and regulate the private sector. Currently, the Government inefficiently competes with the private sector in providing some goods and services, and inefficiently regulates the private sector.
This has been well known over the past two decades, but the Government and the unions continue to blame each other.
Instead of effectively addressing the inefficiencies, the Government has increased taxes on taxpayers and borrowed money to pay for the inefficiencies.
Managing both an inefficient system and an unsustainable manner of paying for this system is a problem that needs to be solved.
Front-line employees normally receive the brunt of public criticism from people frustrated with the inefficient delivery of government services. However, front line-employees should not be blamed if a system is being inefficiently managed.
A cursory survey revealed that many University of the West Indies (UWI) graduates are managing the inefficient public sector. When people are doing their best, and the result is still an inefficient system, then perhaps their academic training was incomplete.
An objective measure of the completeness of a course of study is its accreditation status. The UWI is responsible for providing accredited degrees. I called the Cave Hill Campus to ask whether any of their programmes were accredited, and by whom. I was told that all programmes offered by the UWI were accredited, but the lady could not tell me which accreditation institutions accredited the programmes.
I checked the UWI website and found that Cave Hill had received Institutional Accreditation.
There is no doubt that the UWI is a well managed institution. However, I do not think that an Institutional Accreditation measures whether a particular course of study is sufficiently broad and deep to be classified as complete.
So, to ensure that the Cave Hill Campus produces graduates relevant to Barbados’ future needs, the Government of Barbados needs to confirm that the degrees offered by the UWI are fully accredited.
• Grenville Phillips II is president of Walbrent College, an engineer and social commentator.

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