India hopeful of joining Washington Accord by 2011

India hopeful of joining Washington Accord by 2011

New Delhi: India’s aspiration for a full- fledged membership of a prestigious international treaty for standardizing engineering education that would give global recognition to its courses could be realized early next year.

When achieved, it will benefit the students of nearly 2,000 engineering institutions recognized by the apex body, All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

With AICTE changing its accreditation norms to bring them at par with global standards, India’s chances to graduate from a provisional to a full-fledged member of the Washington Accord has brightened, a top official said here on Thursday.

The grouping currently has 13 advanced countries as its members.

The AICTE, which coordinates with the Washington Accord on this issue, will apply for the membership of the grouping in September this year and a decision will be taken by January next year.

“We are hopeful that we will get full-fledged membership in Washington Accord by early next year. We have addressed the concerns raised by the Washington Accord and have changed the accreditation system to bring it in conformity with the global standards," AICTE vice chairman SS Mantha told PTI.

India became a provisional member of the grouping in 2007. As per the provisions of the Washington Accord, a country becomes eligible for full-fledged membership after two years of provisional membership.

India had, in 2008, approached the Washington Accord for sending mentors for review of the accreditation system before being considered for full-fledged membership.

The mentors reviewed the accreditation system and suggested changes. After that AICTE put in place the revised accreditation system since June last year, Mantha said.

“We have sent a preliminary report to the Washington Accord on the steps taken to standardize the accreditation system. This will be discussed by the grouping at its meeting in Canada next month," Mantha said.

Before giving permanent membership, the Washington Accord will make a fresh review of the accreditation system of the engineering institutions.

The Washington Accord, signed in 1989, recognizes substantial equivalence in the accreditation of qualifications in professional engineering, normally of four years duration.

Signing the accord will enhance global mobility of the engineering graduates from the country who can pursue further studies or take up jobs in the signatory countries. India produces eight lakh engineering graduates every year.

The elite grouping has Australia, Canada, Taipei, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States as its members.