The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) is stepping in to assist the Caribbean meet international standards in the services sector. The CTO, through the Caribbean Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) is developing common guidelines on quality standards for use by regional tertiary institutions that offer tourism/hospitality programmes at the associate degree level.
The Quality Assurance System and Articulation Guidelines are components of the Caribbean Tourism Learning System (CTLS) developed by CTO/CTHRC and the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Education Reform Unit (OERU).
The CTLS is financed by the Canadian International Development Agency’s Caribbean Regional Human Resource Development programme for Economic Competitiveness (CPEC). Its key elements include a unified core curriculum for regional tertiary institutions; use of occupational standards linked to the core curriculum; movement of students across the region and systems for transfer of credits between institutions.
“We see the quality assurance and articulation guidelines as tying into our efforts to harmonize tourism curricula and to facilitate the movement of credentials across the region especially at this time when the Caribbean is moving towards a single market and economy,” said Bonita Morgan, CTO’s director of human resources.
The framework will allow the region to have training programmes for hospitality and tourism workers that meet international standards.
“The intent of these standards is to raise the efficiency and quality of the workers so that the benefits to the region from tourism can be improved,” said Dr. Denis Paul, principal of the T.A Marryshow Community College in Grenada and one of two consultants who are developing the guidelines. The other consultant is Dr. Ethely London, executive director of the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ).
“We want to ensure that people who come to the region are treated well by people who are well trained in all aspects of hospitality,” added Dr. Paul.
CTHRC held a two-day consultation recently with the heads of regional institutions that will implement the programme, at which a draft of the quality assurance framework was presented. The draft looks at the standards that must be met, the processes by which the programmes will be conducted and the organisations that must be put into place to manage the processes, among other matters.
“We are doing this for the region but at the same time the standards we are trying to establish will be worldwide standards, so that when we set up the framework and it is implemented it will have international acceptance,” added Dr. London.
The recommendations that came out of the consultation will be included in a revised document which will be circulated among the various organisations, including ministries of education and tourism, funding agencies, educational institutions and regulatory bodies that support the development of tourism in the region. The CTHRC intends to pilot the quality assurance programme in September 2003 as an integral component of the CTLS project.
About The Caribbean Tourism Human Resource Council
The Caribbean Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) operates under the aegis of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) and plays a key role in helping to coordinate tourism human resource development activities and initiatives in the Caribbean, with a special emphasis on tourism education and training activities in the formal system of education.
It was formed in 1998 and it seeks to bring together key stakeholders from business, labour, government, industry associations, education and tourism related organizations/groups to collaboratively address the tourism education, training and career development needs of tourism workers.
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