The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have decided to be part of the accreditation system in the wider interest of helping India get the Washington Accord-- an international accreditation agreement.
The decision to this effect was taken on Monday at a meeting of the IIT council, chaired by HRD minister Pallam Raju and attended by chairmen and directors of 16 IITs and council members.
The minister said, “The IITs would be subjecting themselves to an accreditation thereby setting a good example for other institutes. This will help us in getting the Washington Accord, which in turn will improve the mobility patterns of our engineers as their degrees would be recognised on a wider global scale.”
The Washington Accord is an international accreditation agreement for professional engineering academic degrees, between the bodies responsible for accreditation in its signatory countries. It was established in 1989 and at present has 15 countries as its members. Once India becomes a member of the accord, it will ensure more mobility for the Indian engineers as their degrees would be recognised on a wider global platform.
India will be able to know its Washington Accord status on June 20 , 2014 when the voting will be done. According to sources in the National Bureau of Accreditation (NBA), the reviewers are likely to visit India in November-December and then again in January. They will review a few institutes and submit their report.
Accreditation, Raju said, is a minimum threshold that has been established for a technical institute. The IITs are, however, on a higher pedestal and they are above the minimum threshold. They already have an annual review and this review should be acceptable as an accreditation by the NBA.
“The IITs already have a robust review system so this could be used as an accreditation. This is an excellent solution to ensure India getting into Washington Accord.
The next step is a dialogue with the NBA,” says an IIT director.
The council also decided on a peer review system for the IITs and a constant review of the directors. While the IITs have the best of academic standards, they have not been marketing themselves. They are a brand but they should do something new to reinforce their brand. The directors would be assessed not just on his academic strength but also on their prowess to get more resources, research grants and other factors.
Other major issues that were discussed related to positioning of IITs globally with focus on augmenting research. The IIT research systems will work closely with national development goals such as defence, energy, urban development and manufacturing.