Monday, 16 May 2016

Engineering Colleges and the Washington Accord

Prof. S. Krishnamoorthi
Dept of Civil Engineering
The NorthCap University, Gurgaon

Hi, my dear engineering aspirants! Finally you have made the decision to get your degree in engineering. Definitely one or more factors like a natural gift, life improvements, family advice, peer teachers, social need, role models, and career fairs would have helped you to take the decision. I hope you do not belong to the category of students who are not interested to gain knowledge and skills but only in marks, degree or a job. If you are one of them, you may stop reading further. For the rest, thank you for reading on.

Let me first introduce you to the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and the Washington Accord (WA). The National Board of Accreditation (NBA), India is an autonomous body with the objective of Assurance of Quality in engineering degree programs offered by various engineering colleges through the mechanism of accreditation.

The Washington Accord is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programs. It recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those bodies and recommends that graduates of such accredited programs may become eligible for entry to the practice of engineering in member countries.

NBA, India has been a signatory (17th member) of the Washington Accord since 2014. After this, NBA has introduced a new process, parameters and criteria for accreditation engineering degree programs. These are in line with the best international practices and oriented to assess the outcomes of the program.

NBA has divided the engineering colleges in to two tiers. Tier 1 and Tier II. Tier I colleges are those with autonomy to review the content of curriculum and make changes as a result of recommendations from accreditation visits. Tier II colleges are those which are affiliated to a university and thus do not have academic freedom.

According to NBA, Tier I colleges only will be covered under Washington Accord and The NorthCap University (NCU) comes under Tier I.

Next I will highlight on the changing role of engineering colleges to meet out the challenges posed by the NBA and the WA. It is really a great challenge for engineering colleges to offer high quality undergraduate degree program in engineering under the new guidelines for accreditation. For getting accreditation by the NBA, every engineering college, for each of its undergraduate degree program in engineering, should have Program Educational Objectives(PEOs),Program Outcomes(POs),well-structured curriculum having courses in basic sciences, engineering arts and sciences, humanities, management, Program core, program elective, open elective and foreign language elective. Each course will have. Course Educational Objectives (CEOs) and Course Outcomes(COs),well qualified and experienced faculty and support staff to deliver the curriculum,, laboratory, computer and library infrastructure, pedagogy in teaching-learning process, evaluation system, industry interaction, involvement of stakeholders at various stages, facilities for co-curricular and extra- curricular activities, equal weightage for teaching and research and a system for assessment of attainment of the PEOs, POs and COs and to take corrective actions depending upon the result. It should be capable of developing technical knowledge, technical skills and soft skills (communication, personality, environmental and ethical).

Facilities should be provided for the students to develop their talents in co-curricular and extra- curricular activities. Students should be motivated to take part in National level design competitions and examinations like GATE.

To enhance the placement opportunities, students should be exposed to value added courses, up-dating of practical knowledge through industry interaction, specialized workshops and  pre-placement interview techniques.

The NorthCap University has not only everything that an engineering college should aspire towards striving to keep inspiring.

After six years of track record as a University, NCU has obtained 82nd rank out of 247 universities from all over India and secured top and only private university in Haryana and Delhi/NCR in the National Institutional Ranking Framework carried out by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in 2016, in fact the only Private University in Top 100 in Delhi/NCR and Haryana.

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