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Sunday, September 30, 2001

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Educational experts to evolve `Asian Accreditation Accord'

By K. Ramachandran

CHENNAI, SEPT. 29. Educational leaders from many Asian countries including Russia and India today agreed to evolve an `Asian Accreditation Accord' which would help in recognition of one another's accreditation processes of technical education programmes.

The countries also promised to cooperate and help in establishing a transparent accreditation system and recognize one another's academic programmes and qualifications.

These ideas were the outcome of a two-day brainstorming session organised by the National Board of Accreditation of the AICTE in Chennai on Friday and Saturday.

Prof I. K. Bhat, member-secretary, NBA, said Asian countries were concerned over competitiveness of their academic programmes at global level. So, they had to collectively establish a forum for a continuous exchange of ideas and collaboration in education, research and training and quality assurance.

It would help students of one country to move to accredited institutions in other participating countries.

The session was attended by academics and technical education experts from Singapore, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Oman and Philippines.

Prof. Bhat said ``by the AAA, we hope to ensure easier mobility of students within these countries and recognition of one another's engineering, management and other technical education programmes.

As per the initial document signed here (to be ratified by the respective governments), the representatives agreed to exchange information and share experiences to bring about substantial parity and consistency in processes of accreditation of technical education programmes, to promote cooperation in processes of regulation, maintenance of standards and professional pursuits in academia and/or industry and generally work to develop education.

As per Sec. 10 U of the AICTE Act, 1987, accreditation of technical education programmes was mandatory. But in view of the volume of work involved, the NBA, an autonomous body under the AICTE, decided to phase out the process till 2006.

At present, India had nearly 13,000 academic programmes in engineering, management, MCA, hotel management, catering technology and pharmacy courses. Till now, 700 programmes had been accredited, and another 260 on the pipeline.

Dr. R. Natarajan, director, IIT, Madras and chairman-designate of the AICTE, inaugurated the session. Prof M. Anandakrishnan, Prof. C. S. Jha (founder-chairman, NBA), Prof. P.R. Mehta, president, Council of Architecture, Prof. R. P. Singh, deputy director, NBA- AICTE and Dr. D. P. Agarwal, director, IITM, Gwalior, spoke about academic cooperation, quality enhancement and cooperation in research and training.

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