Mr Robin Phoolchund, Director (Ag), Mr V. A Ramchurn, Manager, Framework Services and Mr Ramsamy Nookadie, Accreditation Officer of Mauritius Qualifications Authority (MQA) spearheaded a Scoping Mission in preparation for the implementation phase of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), during the week of April 11 – 15, 2016. MQA and the Barbados Accreditation Council (BAC) have entered into a Technical Cooperation and Partnership Arrangement to share knowledge, experiences and expertise for the implementation of the NQF.
The intensive week involved capacity building of BAC staff which included examining the BAC’s Quality Assurance (QA) policies and procedures. During the one-day workshop, staff members the impending implementation of the NQF was discussed and the MQA team shared their valuable insights and experiences on the steps that would be necessary to ensure a successful outcome for Barbados.
Tertiary educational providers and other key stakeholders also benefited from a two-day workshop held at Almond Bay Caterers, Hastings on April 12 and 13. The Hon. Ronald D. Jones, J.P., M.P., Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation delivered the Feature Address at the opening of the workshop. Stressing the importance of providers to seek recognition, Minister Jones stated “Tertiary educational providers will therefore need to be, at minimum, registered in order to have their qualifications placed on the National Qualifications Framework which will signal they have met minimum standards to operate in Barbados. However, the ultimate goal will be to achieve accreditation status – either institutional or programmatic – which will provide global recognition that the institution or programme has met quality standards established by the Barbados Accreditation Council, most likely would be the follow-through organisation to carry both the qualification framework and the accreditation process.” Minister Jones also thanked the Board of Directors of the MQA and the MQA team for kindly readily consenting to assist Barbados at this “critical juncture in the development of its human resources”, and reminded those gathered that the island’s key resource was indeed its human resources.
The themes discussed amongst the various break-out groups at the workshop, included: NQF Qualification Development, Delivery of NQF Qualifications, Assessment and Award, Recognition of Qualifications/Courses, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and NQF Governance: Articulation of Legislations, Policies and Regulations. The sub-themes included Promotion of RPL, Credit rating system, Accreditation and Quality Audits, Credit Accumulation and Transfer, Qualifications Register, Promotion of RPL and Stakeholder Engagement and Harmonising Policies and Guidelines.
For the purpose of the pilot phase, Technical-Vocational qualifications in the priority areas of Health and Wellness (including Beauty Services), Green Energy, Agriculture and Creative Industries pegged at Levels 2 & 3 of the NQF Framework were chosen. The providers selected for the pilot phase of the NQF Implementation – Barbados Community College, Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic, Allied Health Institute, Semaj International School of Cosmetology and Trichology, Career Development Institute and Barbados Vocational Training Board (BVTB) – were briefed during a one-day meeting with the BAC and Mauritius team. This meeting outlined the expectations of the pilot providers and the need for them to champion the process and the NQF.
On the fifth and final day of the scoping mission, the Mauritius team met with the NQF Working Group which is responsible for the managing the design, development and implementation of the NQF. The NQF Working Group comprises representatives from the BAC, UWI Cave Hill and Open Campuses, Ministry of Education, Science, Technology & Innovation (METI), and the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development (MLSD). At this special meeting, the way forward and expectations of the BAC were discussed.
In the afternoon, the Mauritius team along with the Executive Director of the BAC paid a Courtesy Call on the Minister of Education, Science, Technology & Innovation, Hon. Ronald D. Jones, J.P., M.P., which brought a close to the official visit of the MQA and the Scoping Mission.
Later in the evening, the MQA team was able to experience the hospitality and culture of Barbados at the Oistins Bay Gardens, Christ Church.