by Curlan Campbell
- Qualifications Framework is way of structuring existing and new qualifications
- Proposed framework is essential complement to Caricom Qualifications Framework and Transnational Qualifications Framework to facilitate free movement of people
Higher education institutes across Grenada will soon be brought under a new framework to assess students on a range of learning outcomes, from job readiness to theoretical knowledge to technical skills.
The Grenada National Accreditation Board (GNAB) will soon make available Grenada’s new National Qualifications & Credit Framework (G-NQCF) within which the national system of higher education is being re-engineered to meet the demands of the 21st century.
A Qualifications Framework is an instrument for the development, classification and recognition of skills, knowledge and competencies along a continuum of agreed levels. It is a way of structuring existing and new qualifications, which are defined by learning outcomes.
The proposed National Qualifications & Credit Framework document is an essential complement to the Caricom Qualifications Framework as well as the Transnational Qualifications Framework to facilitate the free movement of people.
The G-NQCF once approved, will transform the relationship between employers, universities and colleges to meet the economic challenges of the post-Covid-19 pandemic. It is an essential instrument that will allow both private and public businesses, educational institutions and individuals to compare qualifications and what is required to move from one level to another within and across occupations, industrial sectors and academic and vocational fields or vice versa.
Lead Consultant Dr Michael Bradshaw, over a 2 days period, was in Grenada, assisting in the consultative process of completing this crucial framework. He said this framework will allow employers to better assess qualifications that are submitted by applicants. It is expected that the country’s workforce will be more certified, allowing people to access higher-paying jobs and experience better standards of living.
The G-NQCF is a draft document which lays down details on learning outcomes required at different stages, ranging from undergraduate (UG) to PhD level.
“This will revolutionise how people see higher education and training in Grenada. One of the important aspects that it will look at is ensuring the Grenada public that both academic and technical vocational education and training have their places in the education system. There seems to be a situation where technical vocational education is frowned upon and taught to be 2nd place to academia, but that is not so,” said Dr Bradshaw.
The first draft of the Grenada National Qualifications and Credit Framework has sought feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including officials from the government, education, and employers.
Dr Bradshaw added that there are still some minor changes to be made to the document before it can be completed and approved. “The Framework will be a living organism. There will be changes coming on based on external circumstances based upon development in higher education and training. Therefore, we look forward to having a continued relationship with the stakeholders, especially employers because they play a very important role in determining what kind of worker they want in this society and hence higher education must take what the employers are saying and put it into their curriculum,” he said.
Dr Bradshaw said with the growth in higher education opportunities and technology, there is also an increase in the growth in fraudulent qualifications henceforth this new system will help protect citizens and employers from falling victim.
“Government and employers must be protected in ensuring that qualifications offered by individuals are not fake. Secondly, especially employers must have an understanding of what are the requisite skills, competencies, values, attitude and behaviours of graduates to determine whether they are ready for the world of work,” he said.
After having engaged employers on the second day of the consultation, Dr Bradshaw believed that employees can better understand their role in this process by ensuring that they work alongside the Grenada National Accreditation Board (GNAB) to authenticate educational qualification certificates presented by potential employees.
Human Resource Manager at The Communal Co-operative Credit Union Limited, Ann-Marie Montrose, and Principal of the St Andrew Anglican Secondary School, Dianne Abel-Jeffrey were both participants in the consultative process. They said that the consultation was quite fruitful and informative and, with the coming of the policy framework, will harmonise the relationship between educational institutions and employers.