The quality and legitimacy of education which a student receives at a university or other higher level institution can be measured by an accreditation council. The Accreditation Council of Trinidad & Tobago is affiliated with many international agencies including the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education, the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education and even the American Council for Education. Affiliations with such agencies suggest quality assurance in higher-level education. The student can therefore conclude whether he or she is receiving the best value for the time and money outputted. The status of accreditation suggests that higher education institutions meet or possibly exceed the minimum requirements and standards appointed by an accreditation council. Consequently, students can have undoubted confidence in the level and quality of education offered in Trinidad and Tobago and will therefore seek to further their studies knowing their limitless capabilities.
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Financial aid opportunities are offered to students who enroll in higher educational institutions that have accreditation status. Accreditation to higher education institutions means that the institution can receive governmental funding. This will benefit students who cannot afford the steep costs of tertiary education. Additionally, it can encourage students to further their studies locally via quality education which is funded extensively by the government of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago provides assuring statements based on recognition. This allows a student to be confident in foreign institutions and programmes or awards with which they are involved. The equivalence assessments done by the council can validate whether the qualifications of the foreign institute meet awarded qualifications at the national level. The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), The University of the West Indies (UWI) and College of Science, Technology & Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) are some of the accredited institutions in Trinidad and Tobago, meaning they have met international standards as the equivalence assessments were done. As a result, students can be transferred from one educational institution to another, seamlessly and they can further their studies at locally and even internationally.
Trustworthiness both locally and internationally is gained. Higher educational institutions can use their accreditations as a tool to recruit or attract the best students. The accreditation status represents the institution’s dedication in the achievement of high standards. ACTT is governed by a highly-skilled Board of Directors and, without a doubt, is key to developing the tertiary education sector in Trinidad and Tobago. From the time of its launch in 2005, ACTT has registered 88 institutions of which 67 are accredited, issued 9,116 statements on recognition, approved 162 locally developed higher education programmes and more. Additionally, ACTT is in the process of developing a National Qualifications and Credit Framework which provides a basis for expanded education and training systems. ACTT continues to improve and build on its current foundation. The public will have uttermost loyalty, respect and confidence when it comes to joining an accredited institution.
Quality enhancement support and continuous improvement efforts ensure the ongoing effectiveness of a high learning institution. If a student attends a specific tertiary institution, it does not necessarily mean there will be high academic successes. Deliberate steps are taken to sustain the quality of learning at the institution. Institutions are assisted so their policies and standards are able to meet or exceed the minimum criteria set aside by the council. For example, accreditation councils may record data pertaining to educational performance at a school and if the institution is not on par with the council’s standards, the council will help the institution to improve on specific aspects, be it academic standards, administration or even supporting environment for the delivery of programmes.
Accredited institutions are supplied with a regulatory framework which directs the institutions to greater standards. This framework consists of legal rules created by the government and or the accreditation council to implement certain policy decisions associated with it which ensures accountability for the institutions. This guides the higher learning education institutions in a way such that their quality and standards will not be faltered.
The standard of living will increase in Trinidad and Tobago. Educational accreditation in Trinidad and Tobago means that there is assured, standardized quality of education in our country. Therefore, the citizens’ education would be well above average and as a result of increased education and literacy levels in our country, the standard of living in Trinidad and Tobago would be high. Education can improve the health of the citizens, decrease social issues such as criminal activities and even mortality rates. This means that our country would become richer and well on its way to increased development.
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ACTT’s vision indicates that it will be the primary authority in Trinidad and Tobago for ensuring quality tertiary education with continuous improvement so that it would be a leader in innovation. Many students, exchange students and graduates will stay in Trinidad and Tobago to further their education at high learning institutions which are accredited. This is so because they will be fully aware and trustworthy of the quality of education being offered. This encourages them to stay in the country to not only further their education, but offer their services and skills to the nation of Trinidad and Tobago, therefore adding to the human resources in the primary, secondary, tertiary and even quaternary industries who will work united to help develop our country. Trinidad and Tobago will have the benefit of a ‘brain gain’. Likewise, our country’s capital and national production would increase which will consequently benefit us economically.
“The future of this nation lies in the school bags of our children” (Dr. Williams, 1960). ACTT’s mission is to assure quality and integrity of institutions through recognition and accreditation such that there is a high level of efficiency and transparency in operations leading to increased national development and unprecedented global competitiveness. ACTT therefore works to stimulate a technologically driven society where education will influence us to simplify our daily tasks and enjoy its bountiful rewards. From quality education and the technological advancement, Trinidad and Tobago could achieve first world status. Road and infrastructure could be improved, new transport systems could be introduced, and health care systems could become engineered and sophisticated to that of international standards. Trinidad and Tobago would be well on its way to becoming further developed.
Quality of education in post-secondary and tertiary institutions is ensured through the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago which benefits the students, higher education institutions and the development of the country. The students and graduates in the country can have confidence and faith in Trinidad and Tobago’s quality education system. Higher learning institutions can be regulated, guided and supported by the council and ultimately, Trinidad and Tobago could develop socially, economically and technologically on its way to achieve first world status.
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