On October 9, 2015 the membership of CANQATE expressed their confidence in me to lead the new Board of Management for the period 2015 – 2017. Having collaborated and interacted with hundreds of CANQATE members over the past decade or so, I am honoured to serve the interest of all quality assurance professionals in the region with the utmost transparency and boldness. Following the recent revision of CANQATE’s Constitution, the Board has been expanded to include three (3) Regional Core Group Coordinators who will leverage national Core Groups throughout the region to further the cause of CANQATE. Members of the Board have already begun to demonstrate strong leadership and commitment as the Board has already begun meeting online and have established working committees dedicated to achieving the strategic objectives agreed to by CANQATE’s membership. Indeed, it is truly an honour to lead this team of highly competent professionals who have tremendous experience in higher education and quality assurance. Collectively, the new eleven (11) member Board includes representation from five (5) territories across the Caribbean, six (6) members from national accreditation bodies, five (5) members from tertiary level institutions and representation from each of the three (3) regions of the Caribbean.
The new Board has expressed a commitment to building stronger relationships and alliances with key stakeholders in the higher education sector, including governments, CARICOM, regional bodies, professional associations, tertiary level institutions, national accreditation agencies and other relevant organisations internationally. CANQATE will also engage quality assurance experts, researchers, policy makers and other experts including those of the Caribbean Diaspora to contribute to activities planned over the next two years. Through such partnerships CANQATE will increase its influence and be in a better position to inform policies and decisions impacting the sector. News and developments of these partnerships and activities will be shared through CANQATE’s website and Newsletter which will be circulated electronically to members on a quarterly basis.
The new Board has prioritized the need for quality assurance personnel to have access to professional development, as well as recognised professional certification and qualifications in the field of quality assurance. It is envisioned that in addition to scholarships and bursaries, CANQATE will facilitate the development of a postgraduate qualification in quality assurance, offered on-line through an institution in the region. Professionalising the field of quality assurance would raise the standard of quality assurance practices at institutions in the region, motivate quality assurance professionals and afford greater authority to their professional opinions.
Just as with our own Caribbean economies, our societies and at our institutions and agencies, there are many challenges facing CANQATE in the short to medium term. The issue of funding and sustainability of CANQATE ranks the number one priority for this new Board. Collectively, through the Board, Core Groups and co-opted members we intend to identify and realize innovative revenue streams that will make CANQATE more sustainable. Through the hosting of workshops and seminars, providing more services to the CANQATE membership, working with funding agencies, and other ventures, CANQATE will be transformed to a vibrant and sustainable association.
Many already know that I am motivated by a vision to see Caribbean societies transformed, to witness the creative and productive potential of our varied populations realised. I am certain that many of you share my belief that education, particularly higher education, needs to play a central role in making such transformations possible. I have great confidence in the people of the region, the everyday men and women, to overcome their personal struggles, to improve their individual circumstances and make a contribution to their community. In spite of the many challenges, setbacks and crises that face the region, I am confident that the Caribbean is now in a better position than ever to overcome its many adversities and realise its dreams. I am also confident that CANQATE will play an important part, not just improving the quality of tertiary education in the region, but in positioning tertiary education institutions and quality assurance agencies as key agents in improving Caribbean societies and economies for the benefit of all citizens.