Another Belizean has been elected to an esteemed position on the international platform. Adrian Leiva, current Dean of Muffles Junior College, has been elected Vice President of the Board of Management of the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education. Leiva was elected in the twelfth annual CAN-QATE Conference held in St. Kitts and Nevis from October seventh to the ninth. CAN-QATE was established as a sub network of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education, in 2004. The network’s focus is to enable members to share information about the maintenance, evaluation, accreditation and improvement of higher education and to spread good practices in the field of quality assurance. Leiva is no stranger to the network as he has served as a member since its inception in 2004. Leiva says with the new position, Belize can have an even more direct involvement in changes and improvement in education in the region.
“It means that we have direct involvement in the affairs of the organization we don’t only participate in the conference but we also become involve in the planning, there are many initiatives that CANQATE has embarked on, it stand for the Caribbean Area Network for Quality Assurance in Tertiary Education and the region has come a long way in higher education but it has much more to go, today the higher education environment and when I say I talk about all colleges after high school we are challenged in many ways in preparing students for the world of work and professional advancement, much of it revolve around finance a lot of it revolve around pools of expertise to deliver programs and so we have to come together, my post in CANQATE allows us to be directly involve in forging initiatives to get more people in more training in higher education, to carry on the strategic plan that was developed last year, we have a strategic plan for 2015/2018 pretty much to improve the quality of higher education in the Caribbean.”
The network provides an opportunity for policy makers, researchers, evaluators, administrators and faculty to participate in professional development. Leiva says when it comes to Belize, his heart lies in improving two key areas.
“In Belize we have many challenges, first of all the country as it is does not have an accreditation council which means that we living dangerously, in the primary school system we have rules and regulations that guide that level, in the high school system we have different regulations that guide that level but in higher education there isn’t a formal and legal structure and so quality is put to question, one of the things is that we also need to generally collectively as a country persons involve in higher education could do with more training on higher education, the person who is attending tertiary level institution is closer to his/her career, closer to employment and therefore what we do and what we offer is very important because the person is closer to his career so if there is anything that we benefit from a group like CANQATE is the exposure to best practices in higher education.”
Leiva will be attending his first meeting on the board on Monday night in a video conference and says one of the first things on the new board’s agenda is its strategy plan. In a release by the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize, it states that the new board quote, “looks forward to its term of office and commits itself to providing strategic leadership that will facilitate the growth of a quality culture and improved student experiences at tertiary institutions across the Caribbean region,” unquote. For his new position, Leiva says he is humbled.
“I just want to say that I feel very honored having being elected, the Caribbean has many talented people with a lot of potential and with higher education institutions are considered agents of change and having being elected to this post I feel that I have a lot of energy and a lot that I can contribute to really make tertiary level institutions and in particular our own institutions here in Belize the agents of change that we ought to be.”
Leiva has been closely involved in education in Belize and is a current member and secretary of the Association of Tertiary Level Institutions in Belize, a founding and current member of CAN-QATE. He is also current vice chair of the Belize National Council for Education, NCE, and member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Belize. Countries that are a part of CAN-QATE are Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Haiti, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Guyana.
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