The Center for Academic Excellence at Universidad del Valle de Mexico has received an accreditation that enables the university to certify the skills developed by students and graduates. The Certification of Skills Assessment, certified by the National Council for Standardization and Certification of Labor Competencies (CONOCER), is an initiative from the Mexican government to promote and coordinate skills certification in Mexico.
In order to officially endorse the teaching skills of teachers at UVM, the Center for Academic Excellence shall certify the faculty on four evaluation indicators: teaching face-to-face classes, designing classes and teaching materials, designing online courses and tutoring in online training courses. Gradually the university should evolve to assess and certify these performance indicators across the country.
Sergio García García-Bulle, the Director General of the National Council for Standardization and Certification of Labor Skills, participated in the ceremony to announce this honor and said that incorporating UVM into this system is very important for its ability to service for Mexico's progress. He continued to say that Mexico is at about 65% of the individual level of performance, compared to the 10 most competitive economies in the world, which represents a major improvement to strengthen the economic competitiveness of Mexico and its possibilities of growth and development.
"Our country is very important in the world; we are number 12 in terms of population, the 14th in terms of land area and have the 13th largest economy. Many international studies place Mexico among the 10 most competitive economies by 2020, and it is in this context that the National Skills initiative will play an important role."
The Director of the Center for Academic Excellence, Dr. Rodrigo Polanco Bueno, said in an interview that until now they had worked with a conventional model of teacher training through courses. The certification process will now enable them to assess whether the training is leading to the desired results and generating real teaching skills. The goal is to certify 10,000 teachers.
"Our original goal was to be an assessment center, but we were very fortunate that CONOCER offered us the opportunity to become a certifying body, which is a higher level that grants us the ability to have assessment centers on campus or outside the university, which will allow us in the future to create our own evaluation indicators, which will become national standards."
Also among the benefits for UVM students is that in two years they have the possibility of graduating with a skill competency certification, in addition to their professional qualifications. "One of the rules we have is not only to teach but to provide academic skills training and consulting so that students can enter many careers and in that sense we can extend the range of skills in some specific areas like Engineering, Management, Social Sciences and Health," said Dr. Polanco.
The certification process will begin with two groups of teachers who will take the courses and will become teachers. Some teachers will be from high school and others will be from UVM’s undergraduate degree programs. In 2013, they will implement the program with faculty from the working adult program. Currently, there are 15 faculty members that are certified, but gradually more will become certified.
The first assessment and certifying center will be based in the Center for Academic Excellence, but as there are more trained teachers on campuses, they will also become assessment centers.
The accreditation ceremony took place in the classroom training center on UVM’s Coyoacán Campus, which houses also the headquarters of the Center for Academic Excellence at UVM.
This article was originally written in Spanish and has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.