Photo: Senior Minister Amory
Senior Minister Amory endorses accreditation bill passed this year
Basseterre, St. Kitts – The senior minister and premier of Nevis, the Honourable Vance Amory, endorsed the Accreditation Bill 2017 that was passed in the National Assembly during the sitting of Parliament June 28.
The bill seeks to expand the power to approve post-secondary institutions and tertiary programmes of study in St. Christopher and Nevis and elsewhere; to accredit qualifications offered in St. Christopher and Nevis; to provide for the process and mechanism of accrediting post-secondary and tertiary institutions and programmes of study; and to provide for other related matters.
“We are looking forward to what this bill will do and how it will manage the process of accreditation to ensure that the country of St. Kitts and Nevis, which is providing the environment in which these institutions will function, continues to do so at a level [that] is accepted by international accreditation boards or bodies,” he said. “[This] will need to have their standards satisfied by the people who graduate from the schools or institutions, which are set up here in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
Amory made mention of Grace University that once operated in Nevis. He noted that it was promised to be a reputable institution that granted degrees, but operations came to an end due to the lack of knowledge relating to what was taught and contents of the courses, to name a few of the problems. The senior minister said that the Accreditation Bill 2017 will seek to prevent the reoccurrence of such, as there will be a physical presence in terms of classrooms, libraries and all of the necessary support systems needed for higher learning.
“It does speak to establishing a physical campus, fully staffed,” he said. “Having a physical presence alone does not say that you are a bonafide institute of higher learning. One has to look at other things – the curriculum – what are you teaching? What is the equivalent of other established institutions? What about the quality of the faculty? This act now looks at determining whether or not the quality of standards is met because we want to be satisfied in our own minds when an institution is accredited to provide this level of education, that what it is providing meets the standards internationally.”
He added that the bill is extremely important and timely and will redound to the benefit of many.
“This bill, I think, is comprehensive enough; it sets out in some detail the process by which the board will be guided to come to the decision to provide accreditation, but it also balances that out,” said Amory, while adding that anyone or any institution that applies for accreditation and feels that they have been dealt with unfairly can appeal at any time, as it is their right to do so, and the bill will make provisions for such.