Accreditation and recognition of French certification in Trinidad & Tobago
Accreditation can be either voluntary or mandatory depending on the system of education in a country and the laws governing it. In Trinidad and Tobago, accreditation is not mandatory.
Accreditation can be described as both a status and a process.
It is the certified status of recognition granted by an accrediting body to an educational institution or programme that has been evaluated and found to meet or exceed stated criteria of educational quality. The evaluation process is generally conducted in two inter-related phases - self-evaluation by the institution/provider followed by an objective review by a team of peers, external to the institution/provider. Accredited status is granted for a stated period after which the evaluation exercise is repeated.
Accreditation is also the process used to certify the quality of the institution or programme and to assist in institutional or programme improvement. Accreditation must be maintained by continuous improvement and periodic re-evaluation.
This relatively new body, established on June 14 2004 by Act # 16 of 2004, is the successor to the Committee on the Recognition of Degrees, CORD, formerly attached to NIHERST.
There exists a common position among CARICOM nations that national accreditation bodies should be established in as many territories as it is feasible (it has been suggested that a single body be established to provide services to the OECS). A regional mechanism has also been agreed on by CARICOM for co-ordinating the operations of the national bodies.
The Committee on the recognition of Degrees CORD/ NIHERST remained for many years the only agency that issued statements of recognition of foreign or other qualifications that are required by government agencies and companies in the private sector when making decisions regarding recruitment and employment.
ACTT was established to conduct and advise on the accreditation and recognition of educational and training institutions, programmes and awards, whether national or foreign and for the promotion and continuous improvement of the quality and standard of education and training in Trinidad and Tobago.
In the late 1970s, a Committee on the Recognition of Degrees was established by government to provide expert advice on the recognition and equivalence of foreign qualifications held by nationals who were returning home to practice their profession or to seek employment.
In introducing the accreditation process to Trinidad and Tobago, emphasis was placed on evaluating each course and programme leading to certification. Effectively, therefore, in the local context, accreditation implied that a specific programme had met or exceeded the minimum standards of acceptability. That is, each programme was individually assessed. The evaluation took into account the level of the courses that comprised the programme, as well as the qualifications of faculty, programme admission requirements, the suitability of the teaching/learning methods, and other factors. This approach therefore did not mean that all offerings of an institution were of equivalent quality.
In 1994 Cabinet empowered NIHERST to establish a national accrediting agency to perform "Full Accreditation Functions". In 2001, subsequent to NIHERST’s submission of several proposals for the establishment of an independent national accrediting agency, Cabinet agreed to the establishment of the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT), under which CORD would be subsumed.
On September 2nd 2004, the Honourable Colm Imbert, Minister of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, announced the appointment of the twelve-member board of ACTT. Members of the board include Education Consultant Dr Janet Stanley Marcano (Chair) and NIHERST Consultant Dr Alvin Ashton (Deputy Chair).
For information on any of the following services, please contact the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago:
Statements on the accredited status of tertiary level programmes:
A statement on the accredited status sometimes referred to as a letter of accreditation indicates whether (named) tertiary institutions and programmes identified by a requestor are accredited.
Lists of accredited institutions for named fields of study/ disciplines:
A list is requested in cases where a requestor wishes to obtain a list of tertiary institutions that are recognised in Trinidad and Tobago for a specified area of study.
Assessments/ equivalencies of accredited foreign qualifications:
An assessment/ equivalency is undertaken in cases where a requestor has one or more accredited foreign tertiary qualifications that he/she wishes to establish the total academic value of or to determine the equivalence to a named local tertiary qualification.
All national degrees offered by French state universities are currently recognised by the ACTT. For details on the status of programmes specific to a university contact the ACTT.
Evaluation/ accreditation of local institutions/ programmes.
Please note that the ACTT website is still under construction and as such a few sections remain incomplete.
Forms for accreditation requests are available on the ACTT’s Web site.
The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago -
Level 3, Building B, ALGICO Plaza -
91-93 St Vincent Street -
Port of Spain -
Tel: 623-8620 / 8389