India has finally become the 17th member of the exclusive Washington Accord. This will allow Indian students to practice engineering in other member countries. Raman Menon Unnikrishnan of California State University, Fullerton is one of the individuals who pleaded this case with Dinesh K Paliwal, member secretary, National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and with education secretary Ashok Thakur. Paliwal had organised the World Summit on Accreditation in 2012 for the purpose of clearing the misunderstanding about the Indian system. The accreditation process had commenced during late Arjun Singh’s tenure as HRD minister. India was included as a temporary member during Kapil Sibal’s time. Later, Washington Accord team decided to undertake a comprehensive audit of NBA.
However, Washington Accord would not be valid for IT engineers. In order to create similar equivalence of programmes, India needs to sign the Seoul Accord too. Even after becoming part of Washington Accord, not all the engineering degrees by all Indian colleges will get equivalence with those of other member nations. NBA has already selected 220-odd Indian engineering colleges as Tier-I institutes whose UG engineering courses would be in sync with the requirement stated under the Accord. However, IITs/NITs/BITS Pilani and many Tier-I institutes will now have to apply to NBA and will be declared a part of Washington Accord after extensive verification of their programmes.
NBA has also provided a roadmap to list of Tier-II institutions to prepare them to become the next members of Washington Accord.