The year 2022 is the newest completed chapter in the Barbados Accreditation Council’s 18-year journey. What a dynamic 12 months it has been! During the last 12 months, the staff of the BAC continued to execute its vision and mission through various activities. Under the careful direction of the Board of Directors, several new initiatives were actioned throughout this period. It was a year that challenged us to reflect on our entire operation, because it was the end of our 5-year Strategic Plan 2017-2022. However, this was as much of an ending, as it was a new beginning, causing us to do an indepth review all of the components of the BAC, the organization’s trajectory and what we want to achieve in the next 3 to 5 years. There were milestones and evolutions to say the least. Furthermore, this was done while adapting to the first global pandemic in over 100 years. With all of these variables in mind, let us take a look at the year in review.
At the beginning of the year, we improved our stakeholder relationships by partnering with Registered Provider, Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology. This partnership was formed to assess the competency of applicants within one of the most popular categories within the CARICOM Skilled Nationals Programme, the Artiste category, including various professions such as cosmetologists, barbers, beauticians, and more.
In addition, we strengthened our staff compliment and increased our training and development footprint. In the Quality Assurance and Quality Enhancement Unit we recruited additional personnel, bringing the section to its maximum number of six (6) members of staff. The Council also facilitated capacity building for technical and senior staff, three of whom completed a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education (Quality Assurance) at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Staff also attended technical workshops designed to improve efficiencies, strengthen relationships between staff members and enhance communication. These sessions have addressed topics such as “better catering to the internal & external customer” and emotional intelligence. Other supervisory staff members completed separate forms of training in Accounting, HR, Marketing Strategy, and Personnel and Leave Matters. These new skills and knowledge gained stand to benefit the BAC immensely in its mission to assure quality in Barbados’ tertiary education sector and facilitate the free movement of CARICOM Skilled Nationals.
We continued to roll out the performance appraisal system as part of an overall Human Resource development strategy and maintained a series of staff engagement activities. These were aimed at building staff morale through a range of monthly and quarterly gatherings.
As part of an overall stakeholder engagement initiative, staff engaged with both local and regional stakeholders and providers to advance quality assurance. We took this a step further for our 18th anniversary by hosting our first mix & mingle, inviting representatives from various institutions. This was a way for providers to “roll up their sleeves”, put faces to names and network with others in the industry. We do believe that these face-to-face sessions will deepen connections in the future.
The BAC also held its second Virtual Expo, which initiated as a response to the pandemic causing in-person events to be prohibited. Now that this has been explored and has been viable, virtual sessions continue as part of our marketing strategy that is here to stay.
The BAC continued to develop standards and revise registration guidelines as part of an overall review of policies and procedures for our education providers. The upcoming years will see the Council’s commitment to establishing the Barbados Qualifications and Credit Framework (BQCF) further fleshed out as the Council moves towards the structure of the Barbados Accreditation and Qualifications Authority (BAQA), which is set to manage the Framework.
The BAC will continue to maintain strong partnerships with stakeholders and providers to facilitate the processes of registration and accreditation. Also, the Council will continue to inform the public of its functions and services through various marketing and communication endeavours.
This brings us to the final highlight of 2022 – The new Strategic Plan. With much deliberation, the last major undertaking that required teamwork from the entire organization including staff members and Board of Directors alike, to finalize the newest Strategic Plan to take us through the years 2022 to 2027. The Vision Statement, Mission Tenets, Strategic Priorities have been refined with the future in mind. We are particularly pleased with what has been agreed and are ready to implement. We are committed to fulfilling our duties to the public as the sole body responsible for quality assurance and quality enhancement in postsecondary/tertiary education in Barbados.