The University College of the Cayman Islands has been granted international accreditation for the first time in its history.
UCCI President Roy Bodden said the move was a “giant step forward” for the University College and would help answer critics of the institution.
“For those who were wondering as to our legitimacy, they need wonder no more,” he said. “The college is now internationally benchmarked for the first time.”
UCCI was granted accreditation following an inspection and site visit by the U.K.-based Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities, known as ASIC.
The accreditation applies to the institution itself and the inspection covered everything from the physical structure of the college to the qualifications of the staff and the range and quality of the courses offered.
Mr. Bodden said UCCI is also seeking independent accreditation of its programs.
Last week, the college’s business programs were granted the status of “candidate for accreditation” with the U.S.-based Board of Commissioners of the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education.
Mr. Bodden said this was the first step in having the courses sanctioned by the international body.
“It shows that the courses are recognized internationally and that they are valued by employers.”
He said the nursing and teaching programs were accredited through the University of West Indies, while work was under way to secure accreditation for all programs offered at the college. Mr. Bodden said raising the credibility of UCCI had been part of his remit when he took over as president. He said having the college accredited was an important step.
“I consider this a milestone,” he said. “I have been here six years and that is what I set out to do. I could not have done it without great faculty and staff.
“Now we have to maintain it. We have to be re-accredited every four or five years, so we can’t rest on our laurels. To achieve accreditation and have it taken away would be a disgrace.”
ASIC is an accreditation body for private colleges offering academic, technical and vocational training. The organization has accredited schools all over the world, including in the U.S., India, Malaysia and Botswana, as well as more than 100 private colleges in the U.K.
Lee Hammond, the inspector who visited Cayman in March, said accreditation is used by the schools for marketing purposes, as well as to bolster credibility.