The law programme offered by the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech law) has been granted accreditation by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), UTech announced on the weekend.
A release from UTech said that its president, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, was informed of the accreditation in a letter dated October 6, 2017, from UCJ Chairman Dr Carolyn Hayle and Executive Director Althea Heron.
“The letter indicated that the grant of accreditation will be for the four-year period beginning July 1, 2016, which is the date on which the application was made,” the news release stated.
The UCJ’s letter stated, inter alia: “The council congratulates the University of Technology, Jamaica on having attained accreditation for this programme and looks forward to a strengthening of the relationship between the institution and the University Council of Jamaica, as together we strive for excellence in higher education in Jamaica.”
Reacting to the news, Professor Vasciannie noted that accreditation will be especially beneficial to UTech’s current students and graduates.
“We are, of course, happy that the UCJ acknowledges that the LLB programme is worthy of accreditation. We have a strong team of dedicated lawyers on our teaching staff, and offer high-quality instruction in a wide range of legal subjects,” the release quotes Vasciannie.
“Accreditation should certainly assist the university in moving forward with its effort to establish a law school at the University of Technology, Jamaica — the Jamaica Law School — fully recognised by the Government of Jamaica and other Caribbean overnments,” he added.
The UTech release said that Vasciannie’s comment was made against the background of the University of the West Indies graduates having automatic entry into the Norman Manley Law School, while UTech law graduates are required to sit an entrance examination to gain entry to that law school.
The Norman Manley Law School currently has a monopoly on the grant of the Certificate of Legal Education for law students in Jamaica.
The UTech news release stated that for the current year, 22 graduates of its LLB programme have gained entrance to Norman Manley Law School on the basis of the entrance examination. In some previous years, the number of students gaining entrance from this examination has been very low.
“Our basic request is that the Government of Jamaica puts an end to a system of law school training which discriminates against University of Technology, Jamaica students. The Government of Jamaica should not allow discrimination against its own university,” Vasciannie added.