Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 30, 2017 (SKNIS): The Bill shortly entitled the St. Christopher and Nevis Accreditation Bill 2017 was passed during a Sitting of National Assembly on June 28.
The Bill speaks to the establishment of an accreditation board, to give that board power to accredit post-secondary institutions and tertiary programmes of study in St. Christopher and Nevis and elsewhere; to accredit qualifications offered in St. Christopher and Nevis; to provide for the process and mechanism of accrediting post-secondary and tertiary institutions and programmes of study and to provide for other related matters.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, Shawn Richards, stated during his presentation on the Bill that there is legislation in place governing the accreditation process. Further, the legislation states that no institution shall operate in St. Christopher and Nevis unless it is accredited by the accreditation board in accordance with the provisions of this Act.
The minister noted that the Bill was simply to build on what was currently in place and that it was nothing controversial. He added that the Bill also speaks to online education.
“There was a whole song and dance about the economy and ensuring that the St. Kitts and Nevis economy can benefit,” he said. “There is nothing different in here, whether you are online or persons physically attending the campus, the online programme must be here is St. Kitts and Nevis. There must be a campus here in St. Kitts and Nevis; you must have offices here in St. Kitts and Nevis so that the economy of St. Kitts and Nevis still stands to benefit.”
Minister Richards said that persons should not be under the impression that the campus and offices are overseas and they can still receive accreditation from the St. Kitts and Nevis Accreditation Board. He explained that this was not the case and that persons need to be physically in the federation.
The Bill also speaks to the National Qualification Framework. The minister said that persons on the Skills Training Empowerment Programme (STEP) would now be able to get certification.
“This is what this Act is going to do Mr. Speaker. They can get certification so that no one will have to get up whether they are in Parliament or elsewhere and say that certification isn’t important,” he said.
Persons in the training programmes being provided by STEP will also benefit from the passing of the Bill.
The government through the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) acquired $20 million for the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme,” said the minister, adding that persons who decide to enroll in any of those TVET programmes, the Bill ensures that there is quality assurance.
“So, whether it is you have a TVET programme being taught by an individual in Cayon or somebody in Sandy Point, it ensures that there is uniformity that once you are given a certificate, there is uniformity and there is certain quality standard that you must adhere to. That is what the Bill is about, improving what we have,” he said.
Minister Richards said that the government is, through the Bill, “looking after the interest of all of the people within the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”