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Pakistan provisional member of Washington Accord: PEC.

ISLAMABAD, July 23 -- Pakistan has become a provisional member of the Washington Accord, which would facilitate mobility of engineering graduates and professionals at international levels.

Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) Chairperson ex-senator Engineer Rukhsana Zuberi stated this during a press conference here on Thursday. The proposal for Pakistan's membership was placed by a PEC delegation, headed by Ms Zuberi along with members including Eng Dr Muhammad Akbar, Eng Prof Fazal Ahmad Khalid and Eng Dr Nasir Mehmood Khan, before the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) Meeting 2010 at Ottawa, Canada.

There were three candidate countries on agenda of the meeting - Thailand, Turkey and Pakistan, to defend their cases for award of provisional membership, however, Pakistan and Turkey were granted provisional signatory status.

She said our engineering graduates would now be accepted for transfer of credits and admission for higher studies into the accredited programmes of member countries. A new chapter of employment opportunities will help our engineers to prove their worth abroad especially in developed countries, she added.

For cross-border mobility of our engineers, we need strong industry-academia linkages to provide practical learning opportunities to fresh engineers. Five percent quota of engineering staff may be allocated for internship and training of fresh engineers by the industry and special job quota be fixed for handicapped engineers, Ms Zuberi suggested. The PEC has formulated by-laws for continuing professional development of engineers to build their capacity, which would help them compete at the international level.

A country achieves provisional status after demonstrating successfully that its accreditation system is conceptually similar to those of other signatories. Pakistan is expected to get full membership of the Washington Accord in about two years after it brings its academic programmes, curricula, examination and evaluation system to the international level and revises its accreditation system to make it fully outcome based.

Ms Zuberi said the PEC alone cannot achieve permanent signatory status as it demands collective effort by the engineering stakeholders especially the government of Pakistan, Higher Education Commission and engineering universities. The PEC will soon call Vice Chancellors Committee meeting to take them on board and cope with the challenges ahead.

The Washington Accord, signed in 1989, is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes. It recognises the substantial equivalency of programmes accredited by those bodies and recommends that graduates of programmes accredited by any of the signatory bodies be recognised by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering.

At present, the Washington Accord member countries include Australia, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, UK, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the provisional members include Germany, Russia, Srilanka and India. Membership of Washington Accord is recognition of the quality of engineering education offered by the country and an avenue to bring it into the 'world class' category.

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Publication:Daily Times (Lahore, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jul 23, 2010
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