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Indian engineers are about to become even more employable abroad

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Govt to give accreditation to 1,000 programmes at Indian institutions. Under ‘Washington Accord’, this will improve graduates’ chances of foreign placement.

New Delhi: India’s engineering graduates are set to become more employable around the world, with the government agreeing to give globally-accepted accreditation to over 1,000 programmes across institutions in the country.

This accreditation will be given by the National Bureau of Accreditation (NBA), a body under the ministry of human resource development, which is part of the ‘Washington Accord’ signed by India in 2014. The accord makes it easier for graduates to get jobs abroad.

Some of the programmes covered by the NBA include aeronautical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, biomedical engineering, and computer engineering across institutes. The idea is to give accreditation to similar programmes at a larger scale, as well as boosting the chances for graduates to be employed in countries such as Australia, China, South Korea, the US, Britain, Japan and New Zealand.

At present, the percentage of graduates who get placed with companies abroad is very low. Even graduates from the premier Indian Institutes of Technology struggle on this count – of the 9,000-10,000 people graduating from the IITs each year, less than 1 per cent get international placement.

How does the accord make things easier?

The Washington Accord recommends that graduates of programmes accredited by any of the signatory bodies will be recognised by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in their area of jurisdiction.

The other countries that are signatories to the accord are Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.

For the last four years since the accord was signed, the government had not focussed on giving accreditation to institutions, but this exercise is now underway at a large scale.

“We are working on giving accreditation to about 1,000 programmes by the end of the year, which will serve a dual purpose for us. One, it will be a quality control measure that will let us keep a check on the number of programmes, and institutions that are doing well. On the other hand, it will also help in improving job prospects for Indian students internationally,” said a ministry source.

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