Source: Times of India | March 10, 2014
NEW DELHI: India is set to get full-fledged membership status of the Washington Accord by June, enabling global recognition of Indian degrees and improving mobility of students and engineers.
Secretary higher education Ashok Thakur also said steps were being taken to set up National Accreditation Regulatory Authority (NARA), supplementing the country’s efforts to improve quality and meet international standards.
“After acquiring full status of the Washington Accord, employability of Indian engineers in other countries will go up substantially. This will help our students pursuing technical education,” Thakur told reporters here.
India is a provisional member of Washington Accord since 2007 and is confident to get the full-fledged status by June when a meeting of of the body is due to take place, he said.
The Accord signed in 1989 is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes. So far, some 16 countries are signatories to it.
Thakur said two members were deputed by the Washington Accord to help India align its accreditation norms with the best international practices.
Talking about NARA, he said it will be an autonomous body comprising experts who will identify agencies for accrediting institutes. UGC will initiate steps to set up the body soon, he said.
At present, the accreditation is provided by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
Government has made accreditation mandatory for all educational institutes and UGC has come up with a set of guidelines in this respect.
He also said that IITs are free to decide if they wish to be accredited by these bodies as these premier institutes have so far refused to be accredited. IITs have instead decided to go for an internal accreditation process.
Thakur, however, sought increased involvement of the IITs with the NBA accrediting institutes.
TCS Insights: Attaining full membership under the Washington Accord will let Indian engineering students better pursue their studies or careers internationally. With programs officially being regarded as up to the level of those at other institutions around the world, Indian degree holders will become more in demand over the coming years.