THE UNIVERSITY COUNCIL OF JAMAICA
An Overview of The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ)
The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) is the National External Quality Assurance Agency for higher education in Jamaica. The UCJ was established in October, 1987 by the University Council of Jamaica Act, 1987. It is a statutory body under the portfolio of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.
As part of its core function, the UCJ registers institutions offering higher education to ensure that certain minimum standards are met, and provides accreditation for degree and specialised programmes, as well as for institutions.
The membership of the governing body of the Council is drawn from the public and private sectors, professional bodies and societies and academic institutions, appointed by the Minister with whom the portfolio resides.
The UCJ evaluates local, regional, and international academic credentials and professional certifications to determine comparability to qualifications awarded locally. The development of academic standards by the UCJ is achieved through the work of established Standards Committees. These standards are aligned with international standards and provide important guidelines as to the requirements for programme accreditation.
The UCJ contributes to the development of best practice principles for quality assurance regionally and internationally through its membership on the Board of the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE); and participation at a strategic level in the activities of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE); and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
In addition, the UCJ has assisted in the development of other quality assurance bodies within the region. The UCJ has conducted several seminars and workshops, and representatives from many of the CARICOM countries have visited Jamaica for attachment programmes at the UCJ.
Since its inception, Dr Ethley London (October 1987 – April 2011), Dr Yvonnette Marshall (April 2011- August 2016) and Mrs Althea Heron (November 2016 – present) have served as Executive Directors.
The University Council of Jamaica aims to be a Centre of Excellence enabling national, regional and international development through quality assurance in higher education. Mission Statement The
The Mission of the University Council of Jamaica is to facilitate and oversee the development and maintenance of a robust higher education quality assurance system.
The UCJ is committed to…
Learning and Development
The Council facilitates the growth and development of individuals, higher education institutions and communities towards a culture of quality.
Integrity and Ethics
The Council believes in objectivity, honesty, the establishment of trust and confidentiality while consistently operating in an ethical manner.
The Council believes in the attainment of high quality standards in all aspects of its work. Transparency The Council exhibits openness and fairness in its operations.
The Council provides high quality services to all its stakeholders. Respect The Council believes in and values the diversity of its stakeholders.
The Council believes in and values the diversity of its stakeholders.
- To register institutions offering higher education to ensure that certain minimum standards are met. 2. To provide accreditation for degree and specialised programmes, as well as for institutions
- To grant and confer Degrees, Diplomas, Certificates and other academic awards and distinctions to and on persons who have pursued programmes of study approved by the Council at associated higher education institutions.
- To develop, on an on-going basis, threshold standards for different levels of qualifications in various disciplines, at the higher education level.
- To research issues pertaining to quality assurance in higher education with a view to maintaining and improving educational outcomes.
- To assist in the development of higher education institutions by providing professional advice and services for the development and improvement of programmes.
- To assure the quality of foreign credentials.
- To facilitate the recognition of cross-border higher education programmes, and those of awarding bodies being offered in Jamaica.
- To provide appropriate public information about the institutions, programmes and awarding bodies registered, accredited and recogniSed by the Council.
- To monitor and evaluate higher education programmes and institutions on an on-going basis to facilitate continuous improvement.
- To facilitate the free movement of skills and knowledge within the Caribbean Community
1991 – First institution registered (Jamaica Theological Seminary)
1991 – First programme accredited (Bachelor of Arts in Theology)
1991 – Establishment of the Joint Committee for Tertiary Education
1992 – Publication of the first Directory of Jamaican Tertiary Institutions
1995 – First locally offered overseas programme accredited
1995 – First UCJ-Approved Degree
1997 – Establishment of the first Board of Studies
1997 – Establishment of the Credit Transfer Committee, later renamed the Tertiary Articulation Committee
2000 – Publication of the first set of standards developed by a Board of Studies 2003 – Launch of the Tertiary Qualifications Framework
2004 – Launch of Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education Week
2004 – Launch of the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education (CANQATE) 2006 – Launch of the Guidelines for the Accreditation of Short Courses
2007 – Launch of the Dennis Irvine Lecture Series
2007 – 20th Anniversary Celebrations (125 programmes accredited)
2012 – 25th Anniversary Celebrations (247 programmes accredited)
2012 – Launch of Teacher Education Standards
2012 – Institutional Accreditation (The University of the West Indies)
2014 – Launch of Distance Education Standards
2015 – Launch of Standards for Guidance and Counselling
2016 – Relaunch of the Tertiary Articulation Committee to the Technical Advisory Committee
2017 – The UCJ launched its new website (www.ucj.org.jm)
2017 – “Programmes Under Review” published by the UCJ
2017 – 30th Anniversary Celebration (42 registered institutions and 339 programmes accredited)
2017 – Revised Tertiary Qualifications Framework (to be launched)
2017 – Standards for Information Technology, Associate degree level (to be launched)
2017 – Standards for Natural Science and Mathematics, Undergraduate degrees (to be launched)
2017 – Standards for Engineering, Bachelor’s degree level (to be launched)
2017 – Standards for Bachelor’s degree in Education (to be launched)
2017 – Standards for Occupational Associate degree in Fitness Management (to be launched)
2017 – Revised Institutional Accreditation Standards (to be launched)
2017 – The UCJ embarked on a mandate to increase the number of institutions with Institutional Accreditation
2017 – The UCJ has begun the process of automating critical management and operational processes 2017 – The UCJ is working toward achieving the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) 9001:2015 Certification