Senator The Honourable Hazel Manning - ACTT Launch - November 28, 2005

ADDRESS BY

SENATOR THE HONOURABLE HAZEL MANNING
AG. MINISTER OF SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND ERTIARY EDUCATION
ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE ACCREDITATION COUNCIL OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO,CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL. 
MONDAY 28TH NOVEMBER 2005

• His Excellency President Professor George Maxwell Richards
• Fellow Ministers of Government 
• Members of the Diplomatic Corp 
• Dr. Janet Stanley-Marcano - Chairman of ACTT
• Dr. Alvin Ashton   - Deputy Chairman of ACTT
• Members of the Board of ACTT
• Staff of ACTT
• Specially invited Guests
• Members of the Media
• Ladies and Gentlemen

INTRODUCTION

1.    When I was asked to speak at this very special event some one week ago, I did not hesitate to seize the opportunity because I believe that this occasion signifies two very important achievements in the life of our nation. Firstly, and I would say more importantly, today’s launch represents a milestone achievement for our country in that we are here celebrating the establishment of a very critical agency of government that will help the country realise its development mission and vision. When we- as the Government- speak about Vision 2020 as a vital strategy as we do about education being a Number One priority we must realise the importance of the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago as an agency of ‘innovation’, ‘change’, ‘improvement’, ‘development’ and ‘standards’ in the post-secondary and tertiary education sector within the nation and I indeed say the region.

2.    The second achievement, which this evening affords, is the ability for us professionals, and I include myself this evening, to begin to reflect on our journey and by looking at the steps we endeavoured over the last three decades in particular to build a tertiary education system with quality as a central theme.  This to me is also a major accomplishment. As early as the 1960’s the country operated on a single university system but has evolved into a regulated tertiary education sector consisting of an array of public and private institutions all playing key roles in the education of the society. While this system developed over the years there were several public institutions and non-governmental bodies that were instrumental in ensuring that the quality agenda was addressed in post-secondary education and training in the country. Not referring to any order of importance here, chief among them were the National Institute of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (NIHERST), the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teacher’s Association (TTUTA), the National Training Agency (NTA), the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions (ACTI), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Tertiary Education, the Ministry of Education, the University of the West Indies (UWI), CARICOM and UNESCO. There are several lessons that we would have learnt from this journey. Let us take time this evening to reflect not only from the point of view by giving thanks to all of these important players but rather to use the knowledge gained from these experiences in preparing the country for educational change, innovation and development through a National Accreditation System.

INTERNATIONAL POLICY AND EVENTS

3.    Trinidad and Tobago has had a fortunate history of working within a framework of international policy and developments in quality assurance and accreditation. These policies have shaped our thinking about construction of accreditation systems and the practices used for enhancing and leveraging quality within the international arena. This Government sees these experiences as critical and relevant in the transformation of the country’s education processes and outcomes because they allow us to look at other ‘developed’ and ‘in transition’ countries