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Monday, June 21, 2010

Global Standardization of Engineering Education

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Towards getting an international recognition of the Engineering Education in India , NBA has become a provisional member of Washington Accord on June 21, 2007. The Washington Accord is an international agreement between registering bodies of member countries accrediting academic engineering programs, at university level, leading to the practice of engineering at the full professional level. In terms of this agreement each registering body accepts the accrediting processes of the others and a comprehensive review of signatories’ accreditation system shall be performed at intervals of not more than six years. At present, the Washington Accord member countries are: Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and provisional Members are: Germany, Malaysia, Russia, Sri Lanka and India. The Accord recognizes substantial equivalence of programs accredited by the accreditation organizations and recommends that the graduates of accredited programs in any of the signatory countries be recognized by the other countries as having met the academic requirements for entry into the practice of engineering. The membership of India in Washington accord would facilitate mobility of engineering graduates and professionals at international levels. The graduates from NBA accredited programs will be automatically accepted for education and employment purposes in member countries. 

India is given two years of time to bring its Academic Programs, curriculum and syllabus, examination and evaluation system to the International level and revise its accreditation system to make it fully outcome based. Credit system for flexibility and continuous evaluation for improved learning will have to be introduced. Focus on design, research and innovation has to increase. The signatory member countries would provide mentoring support. NBA will also participate in the accreditation activities of the member countries. At the end, India will be given full signatory status. 

NBA is keen to become full-fledged member of the Washington Accord in the next biennial meeting of International Engineering Alliance scheduled in June 2009. As per the requirement for becoming full-fledged member of the Washington Accord NBA has revised the procedures and criteria of accreditation that is effective from January 2009 to bring it to international standards.

According to the global Engineering Deans Council, around the world there are approximately 4000 engineering colleges of which 1800 are located in India (around 500 are in the state of Andhra Pradesh). Though this figure shows the importance of India in engineering education at the global arena, it is stunning to know that only around 10 % of the engineering colleges/institutions in India are accredited by NBA. It is important to assess and assure the quality of education offered by all the engineering institutions. For the Indian engineers to compete in the global market, quality in engineering education is extremely essential. In the present day scenario, only those who are efficient, maintain high productivity and quality will survive.

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