New Measures to Manage Offshore Universities

In recent times there has been a dramatic growth in these learning institutions and given that the offshore education sector accounts for the significant portion of approximately 12% of the local economy, efforts are being made to grow the sector, while at the same time improve its regulatory framework. This is necessary said local officials to ensure orderly growth and the protection of the integrity of the jurisdiction where offshore educational services are concerned.

One key measure in the new move to modernize operations, is the establishment of an Accreditation Board Secretariat, to support the activities of the Board which was created since 1999 and the Act for which was amended in 2001.

The Board is mandated to regulate the offshore education sector by reviewing applications for offshore educational institutions, certifying and accrediting their programs, and reviewing such programs periodically.

The Secretariat was actually opened about three months ago with its offices at the Education Administration Building, Church Street, Basseterre. A new website for the Accreditation Board, www.ab.gov.kn, has just been launched, providing potential investors and the general populace, information on the accreditation process, as part of improving standards and increasing transparency within the organization.

The Board is currently involved in the revision of the Accreditation Act to improve its adequacy and efficiency in dealing with the broad areas of concern relative to offshore education, and higher education, more generally.

The Accreditation Board will improve its standards to meet the requirements of international standard bodies and interest groups such as the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME), among others, to improve the rating of the jurisdiction and to facilitate the widest possible cross-section of international students and medical programs. This will of necessity mean the careful review of the composition of the Board and building alliances with regional and international organizations such as CAAM-HP, said the Minister of Education, Mr. Nigel Carty.

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