By The Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT)

Successive governments have demonstrated the importance of education through their investment in the development of the sector. Education is viewed as a key tenet of national development, with higher education and skills training playing an integral role in the transformation of the economy. Additionally, higher education is a major contributor to the development of a country’s human capital, which positively impacts a society’s ability to diversify and build its economy. This remains a poignant factor in the current economic climate.

Regulators & legislation

The Trinidad and Tobago higher education sector is governed by legislation, (Chapter 39:06 – the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago Act) and regulated jointly by the Ministry of Education, National Training Agency (NTA) and the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT).

Accreditation Council of Trinidad & Tobago (ACTT)

The ACTT’s responsibility is the regulation of post-secondary and tertiary level education and training.

National Training Agency (NTA)

The NTA’s role differs from that of the ACTT’s in that the primary responsibility of the NTA is the regulation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), the ACTT’s responsibility is the regulation of post-secondary and tertiary.

ACTT Services

With the mandate currently held by ACTT, several initiatives are employed by the Council in the execution of its duties which include the mandatory registration and voluntary accreditation of institutions. The recognition of transnational programmes and foreign awarding bodies as well as the approval of locally developed programmes also fall within the remit of ACTT. The Council has established and continues to review and revise the standards by which the tertiary education sector, as well as the segment of the post-secondary education sector not regulated by the NTA, will be assessed.

Academic System

Tertiary Education

Graduate Schools

Public Regional 3-Year University

Public & Private 3 & 4-Year Universities

Cape Exams

2-Year A-Level Secondary School (15 – 17+)

7-Year Secondary School (11 – 17+)

Community Colleges & Colleges

Private Higher Education Institutions/


CSEC Exams

5-Year Secondary School (11 – 15+)

Technical & Vocational System


Cape Exams

Private Technical Institutes

TVET Centres & Trade Schools

Secondary Education

CSEC Exams

TVET Centres & Trade Schools

Ministry of Community Development Training Programmes

Community Colleges & Colleges

Post-Primary Schools

T&T’s Higher Education Sector

Trinidad and Tobago’s higher education system is diverse, comprising not only many small providers and institutions that offer basic proficiency programmes, but also providers that offer short and professional courses. These post-secondary programmes may be taught through private institutions, post-primary schools, Ministry training programmes or TVET centres, and trade schools.

The tertiary component of the sector consists of two public regional universities, public and private universities, community colleges and private higher education institutions. ACTT currently has registered two (2) local awarding bodies, registered 47 institutions and accredited 13 institutions. The programmes at these institutions range from locally developed degree options such as those offered by The University of the West Indies (UWI), College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) and The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), to programmes which are franchised from transnational institutions such as those offered by The Association of Business Executives (ABE), The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), University of London and Pearson Education Ltd. These institutions’ offerings cover the full suite of qualifications from undergraduate certificates to doctoral degrees.

Recent Developments

Recent developments in the sector are changing the way business may have to be conducted. One change is the restriction in government funding for students to pursue qualifications at approximately 80% of the tertiary level institutions. This, however, only affects an approximate 30% to 35% of the student population eligible for funding. While this may initially result in a contraction in the student enrolment in the sector, some argue that it may also result in the reduction of programme duplication leading to a more streamlined and purposeful investment in the sector.

There are also external factors which impact the sector. One such external factor that is going to influence the sector soon is the recently agreed to CARICOM Qualifications Framework (CQF). This framework will be the foundation for the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which will explain in detail the characteristics of vocational, academic and professional qualifications and will guide their development, classification and recognition. When launched, it will establish the minimum requirements to attain qualifications at the various levels of the education and training system in Trinidad and Tobago. ACTT is at an advanced stage in the development of the NQF in conjunction with the NTA and when completed, it will be an important instrument utilized in regulating the post-secondary and tertiary education sector.

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