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Belize securing accreditation for educational institutions

The Ministry of Education is working towards instituting proper accreditation of tertiary level institutions and Universities in the country. Deryck Satchwell, Deputy Director for Tertiary and Post-secondary Education Services in the Ministry says that up to now, there is no accreditation system in Belize. Institutions are licensed to operate by the Ministry of Education and have the status of “recognized institutions” and that recognition is accepted by most of the foreign accrediting bodies. But that may soon change. 

Deryck Satchwell – Deputy Director for Tertiary and Post-secondary Education Services

“What foreign accrediting bodies will do is get ask the Ministry of Education whether or not it is a recognized institution; we are working on accreditation but it’s a long road and we are being very careful about how we do it. We don’t want to just set up an agency, we are actually working with the institution so we have exiting work happening very quietly in our institutions to build their quality assurance system such that they can pass accreditation when that comes and we actually have the first test of that at the end of this academic year we have one institution that is going to be externally reviewed by a team that we have set up with one of our COBEC  partners that that institution has people who have  helped  them set up their quality management system and their going to host a visit of their peers from Belizean institution as well as visitors from the COBEC institution that will come and check out their quality management system and give them an evaluation.”

And while that work is in progress, we asked Satchwell what challenges students face when transitioning into other education institutions abroad.

Deryck Satchwell – Deputy Director for Tertiary and Post-secondary Education Services

“It would be for the most part smooth I am not saying there have not been any problems at all but some of the problems are closer home than you think like for example we have a challenge that the Mexican system does not recognize our Junior College at all; they treat it as high school right but we are working on that we are setting up a bi-national commission to look at each other’s qualifications so yes there are some challenges but by a large people are able to get some measure of transition. Once it is a recognized institution and the receiving institution looks at the programs and the course outlines and everything people do get credit transferred.”

Deputy Director for Tertiary and Post-secondary Education Services, Deryck Satchwell