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Nov 13, 2014

CANQATE Hosts Annual Tertiary Education Conference in Belize

For three days, educators will be discussing the institutional development of tertiary education in the region with emphasis on quality assurance.  The occasion is the annual conference of CANQATE, a regional organization, which promotes three principles: public education and advocacy, synergy and harmonization as well as training and technical capacity building. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The eleventh annual conference of the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education was held today at the Radisson under the theme, “Quality Assurance as a Regional Priority – Partnering to improve Educational Outcomes across the Caribbean.” CANQATE, which is a cohort of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education, allows for its member states to tap into resources available internationally fostering a more holistic education.

 

Dr. Sharmayne Saunders, Chair, ATLIB

Dr. Sharmayne Saunders

“This is an opportune time for information exchange on our institutional goals, strategies and working methods of quality assurance and to tap into the regional and international quality assurance networks and exchange of good and or best practices. It is an opportunity for us to strengthen the autonomous role of higher education institutions in the regional quality assurance procedures and to discuss strategies on how to improve employability or even the mobility of our graduates with of course the involvement of our professional stakeholders in the quality assurance process.”

 

Over the course of the three-day of activities, several workshops and presentations will be held by researchers discussing the importance of institutional development of tertiary education. President of CANQATE, Doctor Ruby Alleyne says that through UNESCO, there are three priorities that guide the actions of the organization.

 

Dr. Ruby Alleyne

Dr. Ruby Alleyne, President, CANQATE

“These priorities are public education and advocacy, synergy and harmonization and training and technical capacity building. Those three priorities have informed the selection of the theme and topics to be explored at this year’s conference and we have also shaped as well the design and development of the workshops which were heard yesterday. The responsibility is ours to ensure that the strategic alliances and partnerships that we have established generates the level and the quality of output that will catalyze and sustain the development of tertiary education and by extension the human resources in our region.”

 

Keynote speaker at the event Minister of Education, Patrick Faber, spoke about the challenges facing the region.

 

Patrick Faber, Minister of Education

Patrick Faber

“Our education and training system, if it is to function well, must be seamless as mentioned before. And so ladies and gentlemen we fail to maximize our scarce resources to our own detriment. I mention these not to be throwing stones at anyone, but to admit to the adaptive challenges that we face. Let me point out that I think that these challenges are inevitable. You see the tensions between nationalism and regionalism or between one sectoral identity and another are polarities, like inhaling and exhaling. They are both good, but try inhaling all the time or try exhaling all the time.”

 

At the end of the conference, a memorandum of understanding was also signed by external quality assurance agencies. Their objectives are to promote free movement in the Caribbean, to develop systems for mutual recognition, to share information and to harmonize aspects of policies in the development of best practices as well as to develop capacity building.

 

Dr. Ruby Alleyne

“This is a significant occasion and I’d like for us to acknowledge the heads of the accreditation agencies of the Caribbean. From a CARICOM perspective, it has taken us a number of years to get to this point. It started with a mandate from CARICOM in 2002 seeking to establish national accreditation bodies throughout the region. It started in 2004. There was a body in Jamaica in 1987 that predated all of this and that legislation has now been revised in the context of the new development. But we really have achieved quite a lot as a region to be able to look at the heads of our accreditation bodies before us.”

 

The event also featured musical entertainment by Adrian “the Doc” Martinez and the choir from Stann Creek’s Ecumenical College, who performed medleys featuring songs from the Lord Rhaburn, Leila Vernon, Andy Palacio and Paul Nabor. Duane Moody for News Five.

 

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