Good news for non-IIT engineering students in India: it may become easier for you to secure foreign jobs very soon.
In February a two-member committee from the Washington Accord
will visit New Delhi to decide whether Indian engineering degrees should be recognized as equivalent to those in the US, Hong Kong, Japan and other countries.
The Washington Accord is an international agreement among accrediting bodies of engineering programs. Only countries who are permanent signatories receive international recognition for degrees in their colleges.
The following countries are already permanent signatories: Australia, Canada, Taipei (China), Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, UK and USA.
India is already a temporary member of The Washington Accord (as are Pakistan and Sri Lanka). But it has been eligible to apply for the upgrade to permanent membership for more than a year. IIT engineering grads will be unaffected if India gains permanent signature status, as their qualifications are already recognized by global companies and colleges.
A two-member Washington Accord committee (from the US and Singapore respectively) will tour Indian engineering colleges before they come to a decision. The All India Council for Technical Education
(AICTE), responsible for reviewing the quality of Indian engineering courses, promised improvements in evaluation methods when India gained temporary membership in 2007. The committee's aim is to check whether the changes have put India's engineering courses on a par with those of schools within the Washington Accord's permanent members.
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you're an Indian graduating soon then you could well find that your degree has gained value, and not just with companies and colleges within the permanent member nations.
Institutions which aren't themselves covered by the Washington Accord have every reason to pay attention to the fact that an applicant has an internationally-recognized qualification.
The key word here is equivalent. In theory Indian graduates should get the same recognition as those from the US and China, provided the committee is impressed next month.
Given that India produced 400,000 engineers in 2010 alone, and with a million a year expected by 2020, increased opportunities abroad could be valuable insurance for the next generation of graduates.