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A recognized higher education institution in Jamaica is an institution offering programmes of study to students who have successfully completed secondary education. Recognized institutions are those registered/accredited by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ). The UCJ is the national quality assurance body for tertiary education in Jamaica.

1. Higher education institutions recognized by competent authorities

  • List of recognized higher education institutions in Jamaica
    The University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), as the national quality assurance body for tertiary education in Jamaica, maintains a list of recognized (registered) higher education institutions. The UCJ registers institutions that have met minimum tertiary educational standards with respect to: scope, level, appropriateness and educational value of institutional programmes and experiences; qualifications and competence of staff; rigour and strategy for assessing student performance; adequacy and suitability of physical facilities with regard to student enrollment; adequacy of resources, library, computers, laboratories, to support the programmes; and other operational factors.

2. Higher education programmes recognized by competent authorities

  • List of recognized programmes in Jamaica
    The University Council of Jamaica maintains a list of recognized (accredited) higher education programmes. The UCJ accredits degree and specialized programmes by establishing standards and applying criteria for the accreditation of tertiary educational programmes and courses of study; assisting registered institutions in the improvement of their educational programmes; and encouraging and facilitating programmes related to national needs.

3. Information for students planning to study in the country

  • Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency
    Persons seeking to enter the island to pursue academic studies should possess a valid passport, a valid visa for each entry (if Alien), original letter from a recognized/registered tertiary institution granting admission, a return ticket valid for one year, accommodation, proof of financial support or grants during their tenure. Students over 16 years old must be registered as Aliens after arrival.

4. Information on the higher education system

  • Ministries/departments responsible for education:
    The Ministry of Education (MOE)
    The Ministry of Education (MOE) has overall responsibility for the education system in Jamaica. It is the mission of the MOE to “provide a system which secures quality education and training for all persons in Jamaica and achieves effective integration of educational and cultural resources in order to optimise individual and national development".
  • Quality assurance mechanisms:
    University Council of Jamaica
    The University Council of Jamaica is the national quality assurance body for tertiary education in Jamaica.

    Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP)
    The CAAM-HP is the legally constituted body established in 2003 under the aegis of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), empowered to determine and prescribe standards and to accredit programmes of medical, dental, veterinary and other health professions education on behalf of the contracting parties in CARICOM.

    Joint Board for Teacher Education
    The Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE), Mona, has been engaged in quality assurance in teacher education since 1965. Over this period the JBTE has certified well over 50,000 teachers across the Caribbean, but mainly from Jamaica, the Bahamas and Belize.

5. Information on foreign credential assessment and recognition

  • Competent bodies:
    University Council of Jamaica
    The UCJ establishes equivalence and facilitates recognition of foreign qualifications. These qualifications are evaluated by the Council at the request of individuals, educational institutions and employers. Qualifications are also evaluated based on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Free Movement of Persons Act, 1997.

6. Information on financial assistance opportunities

  • For national students planning to study abroad:
    Students’ Loan Bureau
    The Students' Loan Bureau only offers funding for overseas campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI). Parent Plus loans may apply for programmes not offered in Jamaica.

    Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
    The Scholarships and Assistance Unit of the  Public Service Establishment Division of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, manages the GOJ Civil Service Training Programme and acts as Point of Contact for the various donor Agencies and Countries offering technical assistance to the Government under bilateral and multilateral agreements.
  • For international students planning to study in Jamaica
    International students planning to study in Jamaica are encouraged to contact the relevant tertiary institution for guidance as to available financial assistance opportunities.

7. Cross-border higher education

  • Competent bodies:
    University Council of Jamaica
    Cross-border higher education is defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as higher education that takes place in situations where the teacher, student, programme, institution/provider or course materials cross national jurisdictional borders. Cross-border higher education may include higher education by public/private and not-for-profit/for-profit providers.  The UCJ is the competent authority to establish the quality of cross-border education at the tertiary level delivered within Jamaica.

8. National information centre

9. Other information sources

10. Definition of Key Terms

  • Accreditation - the status granted to an institution or programme that has been found, through self-study and peer review, to meet or exceed stated guidelines of educational quality. Accreditation is a voluntary activity that promotes self-evaluation, self-regulation and accountability. The role of the accrediting body is to ensure quality through encouraging the improvement of educational standards.
  • Registration - The aim of registration is to certify that an institution meets certain minimum operation standards required for the conduct of tertiary education in Jamaica. It is also a first step towards accreditation of programmes offered by an institution. Registration provides an institution with the opportunity to establish a formal, publicly recognized relationship with the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ), and is the recommended approach to seeking accreditation from the UCJ.
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