Bill To Allow College To Appoint Its Own Auditor

July 15, 2022

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said that he will table the ‘Bermuda College Amendment Act 2022′ in the House of Assembly today [July 15] which “proposes a simple change – to allow the Bermuda College to appoint its own Auditor.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr Speaker,

This morning, I would like to give brief remarks regarding a Bill entitled the Bermuda College Amendment Act 2022, which I intend to table later today.

The Bill proposes a simple change – to allow the Bermuda College to appoint its own Auditor. The Bermuda College initiated the proposal as a result of recent changes to the accreditation standards of the New England Commission of Higher Education [NECHE], the accrediting body of our only tertiary educational institution.

As a condition of continued accreditation, Bermuda College must, along with all other colleges and universities that wish to obtain or maintain NECHE accreditation standards, “have sufficient autonomy and control of its programs and operations consistent with its mission to be held directly accountable for meeting the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation.”

Mr Speaker,

As with other Quangos, the Bermuda College Act 1974 requires the accounts of the College to be audited annually by the Auditor General. This process is also supported by the Audit Act 1990, which gives responsibility to the Auditor General to audit all government-controlled entities. I am very pleased that the audits of the College are and continue to remain up-to-date due to diligence by the College under continuing difficult circumstances. It should also be noted that external auditors are regularly used, but solely within the discretion of the Auditor General. All audits, whether conducted by the Auditor General or an external auditor, are fully financed by the College.

For reasons well known to Honourable Members, the College has fallen behind on its audits in the past. It does not wish for these unfortunate circumstances to ever reoccur in the future due to circumstances beyond its control. Further, it requires autonomy and flexibility to remain compliant with its accreditation standards.

Mr Speaker,

As Bermuda’s only higher education institution and a 2-year institution, it is paramount that the students of Bermuda College be able to transfer their hard-earned credits to overseas educational institutions. As an accredited institution, Bermuda College has a number of well-established transfer agreements with overseas academic institutions that allow graduates to transfer to the third year of a 4-year degree programme or the second year of a 3-year degree programme. This provides significant value for money for students of all ages and their families. Without these agreements, many students would not be able to afford to travel overseas to obtain bachelor’s and master’s degrees or access fields of study not yet available or feasible to deliver in Bermuda.

Even the risk of losing accreditation would damage the College’s reputation and the prospects of current and future students. The lack of accreditation would be a loss of critical personal and professional educational growth opportunities and a massive hit to the continuing development of Bermuda’s workforce.

Mr Speaker,

This accreditation also affords the College the ability to offer several professional certifications, programmes and courses through its Division of Professional and Career Education [PACE] for students at all stages of life who wish to pursue various passions, career enhancement or career changes.

Further, the Bill respects the role of the Auditor General as per the Audit Act 1990. It would require consultation with the Auditor before the College selects an external auditor, and the Bill ensures that any auditor appointed by the College is entitled to practice as a public accountant under the Chartered Professional Accountants of Bermuda Act 1973.

The College will also ensure that a copy of the audited financial statements is provided to the Auditor General.

Mr Speaker,

I look forward to engaging Members of this Honourable House on efforts to make sure that the Bermuda College can continue to steer its own course for the benefit of current and future students, the Bermuda economy, and for the benefit of the larger community.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

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