Enhanced status

Enhanced status

The granting of full and permanent membership of the Washington Accord to India will raise the status of the country’s technical education and open up more possibilities for engineers who graduate from the country’s colleges.

The accord is an international agreement for professional engineering degrees between accreditation agencies of the signatory countries. Its membership gives international recognition to Indian degrees and will help increase the mobility of Indian engineers to the USA and other countries for jobs.

There are only 17 member-countries now which have been admitted after evaluation and assessment of their professional courses.

It is difficult to establish equivalence among technical courses in different countries because of the variation in curricular content, standards and programmes. These vary even within the country from university to university. 

The Washington Accord covers all the four-year under graduate programmes in engineering (BE/B Tech). Students with B Tech in Information Technology also will be benefited, provided they get the degree not before June 14 this year and if their programme is accredited by the NBA under the “Tier-I category”.

Only those universities or colleges offering engineering programme and which are "autonomous" will get accreditation under Tier I category.

There are some 300 such institutions in India out of a total 3500 offering four year under-graduate engineering programmes. As of now, National Board of Accreditation is considering 113 programmes of different colleges while the IITs have not yet applied for accreditation.

The Accord does not recognise under-graduate technical programmes like MCA. So, if a student has a degree in information technology under the three year format, his/her degree will not be recognised under the Accord. For this, government will have to sign Seoul Accord which covers tertiary undergraduate degrees in computing and IT.

The recognition is a result of a long campaign and efforts undertaken by the Union human resource development ministry and the NBA. India had to wait for seven years for full membership after it was given provisional membership of the Accord.

But the country cannot rest on the laurels because the standards of technical education have to be improved in most institutions. There are too many of them which are short on quality and deficient in infrastructure.

There is criticism that a large number of engineering graduates are unemployable. India should make efforts to become a signatory of the Seoul Accord also as a good number of engineering students are in the information technology field.