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In a major achievement, India on Friday became a permanent signatory to the Washington Accord, paving the way for more global mobility and employment avenues for engineers.
This was decided at a meeting of the International Engineering Alliance, the secretariat of the Washington Accord in Wellington, New Zealand. The summit had begun on June 9, and on the last day, June 13, all 15 signatory nations voted in favour of India. Sri Lanka too was accorded membership.
The 2013 signatories were Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong King, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.
“This will ensure highest quality assurance standards to be implemented in our technical and engineering programmes, and will provide global mobility to our engineering graduates,” HRD minister Smriti Irani said.
“Graduates having degrees, which have been so accredited, would have substantial international equivalence of their achievement levels across the signatory nations. This will substantially enhance their employment opportunities around the world,” the minister added.
The membership of Washington Accord is an international recognition of the quality of accreditation processes of undergraduate engineering education, and is an avenue to bring undergraduate education at par with international standards. Now, degrees awarded by institutions authorised by India’s National Board of Accreditation (NBA) would be recognised by all Washington Accord member nations.
Dr Surendra Prasad, chairman, NBA, told HT from New Zealand: “A three-member team visited in December 2013 and January 2014 to observe our accreditation systems and practices. At that time, they accompanied the Indian reviewers who visited NIT Trichy and BMS College of Engineering. The report submitted by this team was the basis for the decision.”
The Washington Accord, established in 1989, is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes. It recognises the substantial equivalency of courses certified by those bodies, and recommends that graduates of programmes endorsed by any of the signatory agencies be recognised by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering.