We want better salaries - UTech graduates blame unaccredited degree for low pay
A group of teachers, who studied at the University of Technology (UTech) in the unaccredited Bachelor of Education in Industrial Technology programme and are now being paid pre-trained teachers' salaries have expressed dissatisfaction at the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) and UTech's handling of the process the get the programme accredited.
Two of the teachers, Fabion Brown and Dale Simpson, told THE STAR they have made several enquiries at UCJ and UTech about the accreditation process, but have been getting the runaround.
"I initially contacted UCJ and I was told that the programme wasn't accredited," Brown explained. "I contacted UTech and they say that they have turned over all the necessary documents to UCJ and the process will start. In fact, some of the lecturers said that the process is about 95 per cent completed and that was from last year. When I contacted them two weeks ago they are telling me the same thing."
Brown said the pre-trained salary he is now getting is almost 50 per cent less than what his colleagues with degrees are getting.
"It's heart-rending to know that you are putting out your best and you are not being rewarded for it," Brown said.
Last year acting president at UTech, Professor Colin Gyles, revealed that more than 60 courses at the institution were not accredited.
After several attempts, UCJ responded to allegations via an email, but failed to state clearly when the accreditation process for the programme actually started.
"The institution has recently submitted the Bachelor of Education in Industrial Technology for review. The programme is currently being evaluated and is at step four [of six steps] of the accreditation process," the statement said.
"The UCJ has been working closely with UTech, Jamaica during the accreditation process to ensure that the programme meets or exceeds minimum standards of quality. UTech, Jamaica will hear from the UCJ as soon as the evaluation process is completed (anticipated within 8-12 weeks)."
Head of communications at UTech, Hector Wheeler, wasn't prepared to give a response up to press time.
The teachers believe if UTech hadn't change the structure of the course in the middle of their studies, they wouldn't have been in this quagmire.
"When I started the programme in 2010 it was Bachelor of Education in Technical and Vocational and then they changed it to the Bachelor of Education in Industrial Technology to include an IT [information Technology] component," Simpson explained.
According to Simpson, the Bachelor of Education in Technical and Vocational programme was accredited.
"When they printed the degrees for us at graduation, is the Technical and Vocational degree we got. We pointed it out to them, and they say that it is interchangeable," Simpson said.