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Centre for making accreditation mandatory for engineering courses

The Centre is contemplating a plan to make accreditation mandatory for programmes offered by engineering colleges, said Surendra Prasad, Chairman, National Board of Accreditation (NBA).

Speaking to reporters here after inaugurating a three-day national workshop on “Technical Education in National Context: Challenges and Strategies” at National Institute of Technology, Mr. Prasad said that accreditation of engineering courses was still voluntary. However, the Centre has mooted an idea of making accreditation of engineering courses mandatory and discussions were on at different levels. The National Board of Accreditation, which was one of the signatories of Washington Accord, had aired its view to the Centre on the issue.

“I personally feel that mandatory proposal is not a good idea. If the colleges possess good infrastructure and faculty, they will automatically apply for accreditation as it will help them to get students for accredited courses,” Mr. Prasad said. However, a decision on the matter rested with the Centre. Mr. Prasad, who was also Chairman of National Institute of Ranking Framework (NIRF), said engineering colleges should aim for getting autonomous status. If the majority of programmes were accredited, they could become eligible for autonomy, which would give the colleges freedom to frame curriculum as per the contemporary requirements. The engineering colleges and institutes that had tier-II accreditation of NBA for the courses would have global recognition as NBA was a dignitary to the Washington Accord, which was an international agreement between bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes.

To a question, Mr. Prasad said that colleges and institutes in South India had been doing well on getting tier-I accreditation. Colleges in Tamil Nadu had a longer history and they were facing a greater amount of survival challenges. Hence, they were keen on getting tier-I accreditation. NBA would conduct awareness programmes on the importance of NBA accreditation wherever necessary.

Earlier, speaking at the workshop, Mr. Prasad said higher learning institutions such as IITs and NITs should focus on framing professional curriculum that should be dynamic in content and delivery. Faculty members should be encouraged to engage the students in discussions, which will help them to understand their own interests better.

Jandhyala BG Tilak, former vice-chancellor, National University of Educational Planning and Administration, said that the higher learning institutes should focus on three E’s of development goals - expansion, equity and excellence.

Mini Shaji Thomas, Director, NIT-T, presided. G. Kannabiran, Principal Co-ordinator of the workshop and others spoke.


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