The BAC continues to assure the quality of tertiary education across Barbados. Having been established as an Act of Parliament in 2004, the Board of Directors began its work in October 2005 with a singular vision to become a World-Class, dynamic quality assurance agency for education and training in Barbados. With two broad goals articulated some 16 years ago, the Council continues to carry out its mandate which includes (i) registration and accreditation of tertiary education providers and (ii) granting and verifying skills certificates for CARICOM nationals. Other essential functions include Recognition of Foreign Qualifications; Validation/Approval of Programmes; and Equivalency of Qualifications.
The majority of this development could not have been possible without the tireless work of our first and long-lasting Executive Director Dr. Valda Alleyne who retired earlier this year and who we can credit for the significant foundation laid. Dr. Alleyne oversaw and played a critical role in the major achievements over the years.
As we reflect, there were several achievements for which the BAC can take pride: The hosting of Quality Assurance (QA) capacity-building workshops, bringing attention to issues relating to evaluator training, registration, curriculum development, preparing for accreditation and programme approval to name a few. In our early years, we hosted a major Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE) Annual Conference. It was professionally executed, and many lauded the BAC for the successful conference despite its small staff and is only in existence for five years.
Also, there have been major stakeholder relationships formed both locally, regionally and internationally. Our team members have travelled far and wide to conferences, training sessions and met with various stakeholders in the QA profession. Many calls are received for BAC to advise on various matters. We have also provided training for new Executive Directors and QA staff in the region.
We continue to provide technical support to tertiary education providers in the development of their Internal Quality Assurance systems to ensure quality teaching and delivery. Consultations to raise awareness and bring an understanding and appreciation for quality assurance in tertiary education have taken place through stakeholder workshops. BAC has also implemented critical policies and procedures concerning Registration, Accreditation, Recognition (Qualifications, Institutions; Programmes; Awarding Bodies). Through these QA policies, major tertiary education providers such as The University of the West Indies Cave Hill and Open Campuses and the American University of Barbados have achieved Institutional Accreditation through the BAC as well as the Certified Management Accountants and Certified Financial Analyst have been recognized as Awarding Bodies.
More recently, the BAC, as part of its give back to the youth of our nation, also hosted the national secondary school debate competitions for the last five years. This annual forum sought to heighten youth awareness concerning ‘quality education’ by focusing on issues which directly affect them.
We look forward to implementing the National Qualifications Framework (NQF); led by the BAC as part of the Human Resource Development strategy’s objective for the development of an internationally recognized national qualifications framework. The BAC with the help of funding from the European Union under the Skills for the Future Programme worked towards the building of what is dubbed the Barbados Qualifications and Credit Framework (BQCF) and is currently in the pilot implementation phase of this major HRD initiative.
The BQCF is critical to the recognizing the potential of all Barbadians as we envisage. All of this is expected to be managed by the Barbados Accreditation and Qualifications Authority (BAQA) which is expected to replace the BAC in its current structure and implement and manage the BQCF notwithstanding its existing functions. The BQCF’s main aim is to ensure standardization of qualifications across Barbados. Complimentary to the BQCF will be the Barbados Qualifications Register (BQR) which will serve as a repository for recognized qualifications and the registered and accredited institutions that offer these qualifications. This database will be accessible to the public.
Quality assuring and quality enhancing tertiary education in Barbados will auger well for its citizens and overall, national development.
It is clear that value has been seen in the existence of the BAC.
– Lisa Gale (Mrs)