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National Discussion on UNESCO’s Draft Convention on Higher Education

On Thursday 31st January 2019, a cross section of the Vincentian community got an opportunity to examine UNESCO’s Draft Convention on Higher Education. The opportunity was presented by the Accreditation Unit in the Ministry of Education.

Participants were exposed to the context of the evolving Higher Education landscape by way of reviewing this the draft Convention.

The draft document recognizes among other things that:

From left to right table leader Ms. Cindy Edwards from the SVGCC, in the forefront. Ms. Calma Balcombe from the NAB, Mrs. Jacintha Fergus Deputy Director of Information Technology Services Division (ITSD), Mr. Delando Charles from the Director of Public Prosecution’s office and Mr. Kenroy Questelles Director of the National Qualifications Department.

“Education is increasingly seen by governments as a major contributor to national wealth and economic development, there is need for, global cooperation to ensure global mobility, there must be shared global understanding of what is fair and reasonable and that there is a need for real outcomes for students, academics, higher education institutions, employers”

The one day session saw the participation of representatives from the National Accreditation Board, the National Qualification Department, the Department of Labour, the Public Sector Reform Unit, Ministry of National Security, Teachers Union, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, Local UNESCO Secretariat Attorney General’s Chambers, as well as attorneys in private practice.  

International experts were invited by UNESCO to review the draft in Paris in December 2018. Perspectives gleaned from the local gathering are expected to be disseminated in a follow up meeting.

Senior Education Officer in charge of the Accreditation Unit in the Ministry of Education Mrs. Descima Hamilton, represented St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the December 2018 meeting in Paris.

The work of quality assuring in tertiary level academic services offered in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is expected to be greatly enhanced during the week of the 12th – 16th November 2018. The opportunity to enhance this service sector will be provided at the annual CANQATE Workshop and Conference which takes place in Tobago during this week.

CANQATE is the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education. CANQATE was established to promote best practices in quality assurance and quality enhancement in the region through the capacity building, sharing of information about the maintenance, evaluation, accreditation and improvement of tertiary/higher education.

The theme of this year’s proceedings is Quality Higher Education Making it a Reality. The organizers have indicated that at this year’s workshop and Conference “The forum will provide a platform for higher education professionals to share their expertise, experiences and research in transforming the higher education sector into one that is globally competitive. Practitioners in this field and other key stakeholders from the local, regional and international communities will present academic papers,  also they will share best practices and review recent developments in the field”.

A five member contingent will represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the training and conference. The contingent comprises of Senior Education Officer Descima Hamilton, administrative assistants Niasha Stapleton and Moeth Gaymes from the Accreditation Unit. The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College will be represented by it Quality Assurance and Accreditation Officer Ms. Cindy Edwards. The provisionally registered St. Teresa University will benefit from the exercise and will be represented by its Local Registrar Mr. Allan Burnette.   

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