Associate Degrees from SVGCC may  be used to gain entry to UWI – Official
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September 19, 2014

Associate Degrees from SVGCC may be used to gain entry to UWI – Official

Persons holding Associate Degrees with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 from tertiary level institutions in the region, may use those qualifications to gain entry into degree programmes of the University of the West Indies (UWI).

This was confirmed yesterday, by Professor Alan Cobley, Pro Vice Chancellor and Chair, Board for Undergraduate Studies, {{more}}Mona campus of the UWI, in a letter to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker.

Professor Cobley said the University formally approved the use of Associate Degrees from tertiary level institutions for normal matriculation in 2006.

In addition to this general policy for the region, the professor said since 2005, the University of the West Indies has accepted the Associate Degree in Education delivered by the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) in association with the Joint Board for Teacher Education in the Eastern Caribbean (JBTEEC) for advanced standing in the Bachelors of Education programme.

“We also signed a formal articulation agreement with the SVGCC in 2008 with respect to the CTO Hospitality Associate Degree Programme and the Tourism and Hospitality Associate Degree Programme. This agreement allows graduates of these programmes to enter the University degree programmes in Tourism and Hospitality Management with advanced standing (ie direct entry to Level II of the degree programme).

“This was followed in 2013 by an agreement to offer advanced standing to holders of the Associate Degree in Business Studies and the Associate Degree in Psychology completed at SVGCC. … As you know we are currently engaged in discussions concerning the granting of advanced standing in our degree programmes for other associate degree programmes offered by the College,” the letter to Bonadie-Baker, which was obtained by SEARCHLIGHT said.

Colby however noted that while having an Associate Degree grants one normal matriculation, entry may not be guaranteed.

“While the above qualifications are granted Normal Matriculation, individual subject passes obtained as part of these qualifications are not necessarily accepted as satisfying subject requirements for entry to specific Faculties, and have to be individually assessed as required.”

The professor said, what this means in practice is that “while an applicant may meet the minimum matriculation requirements, this does not necessarily guarantee admission since entry to some faculties is highly competitive.”

Nigel Scott, Deputy Director of the SVGCC, in a release issued yesterday, also mentioned the same agreements with the UWI as did Colby, for Associate Degree programmes in Teacher Education, Hospitality Studies, Business Studies and Psychology.

He also stated that the Associate Degree programmes in Business Studies, Psychology, Information Technology, Paralegal Studies were developed by the SVGCC and first delivered to part time students in 2010.

The template for these programmes and all SVGCC developed Associate degrees, he said, was developed by the UWI in collaboration with the Association of Caribbean Tertiary Institutions (ACTI).

“Since their development, three of these programmes (Business Studies, Psychology and Information Technology) have already been assessed by regional and extra-regional Educational Institutions (UWI, UTECH, St. Georges University and Munroe College).

Scott said Monroe College will accept credits from 20-21 courses (depending on the programme) from students who have completed the SVGCC Associate Degree in good academic standing, while St. Georges University is willing to offer graduates of the Business Studies, Psychology and Information Technology Associate programmes Advanced Placement into their corresponding Bachelors Degree programmes.

“The University of Technology (UTECH), Jamaica, has also done an assessment of the Information Technology Associate Degree Programme and students who successfully complete this programme matriculate with Advanced standing into UTECH B.Sc. in Computer Science. This B.Sc. programme is currently being done on Franchise at the SVGCC and several graduates of the SVGCC Associate Degree in IT are students in this Bachelors programme,” Scott said.

He however said a similar assessment has been requested for the Paralegal programme and the Fine Arts, Design and Cultural Communication programme.

“This assessment should have been completed last year, but the UWI team was unable to complete at the pre-arranged time. A new date is to be established.”

The deputy director said the Performing Arts and Media Studies Associates Degree programmes were launched in 2012, so assessment of these programmes has not yet been sought.

“It is not usual that assessment or Accreditation is sought for a programme before a cohort has completed the programme. Such cohort completion is necessary because the assessment involves looking at the courses, examinations, speaking with students and lecturers and seeing how graduates have integrated the skills learnt. The first cohort of Performing Arts students graduated in June 2014. The first cohort in media Studies will not complete until December 2014.”

Scott said Applied Associate Degrees in nine areas are taught at the Division of Technical and Vocational Education since 2010.

The course outlines for these programmes – Hospitality, Business, ICT, Building Construction, Electrical Engineering Technology, Automotive Repair, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Mechanical Technology and Agricultural Science were developed by the University of Technology (UTech).

According to the release, the Registered Nursing Programme was converted in 2012 from a Certificate Programme to an Associate Degree programme.

“This curriculum harnesses the best of both worlds as student nurses not only do the core Nursing Disciplines but also General Education courses such as Communication and Sociology. Successful students will continue to write the Regional Examination for Nurse Registration,” the deputy director said.

Earlier this week, as he spoke on Nice Radio, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace questioned whether the Associate Degrees offered at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College (SVGCC) are accredited.

He said a young lady who had done an associate degree at the college tried using it to obtain entry into the University of the West Indies, but was denied access.

The opposition leader said as far as he is aware, only two of the sixteen associate degree programmes offered at the SVGCC are accredited. He therefore called on the government to explain the situation to the people.