Washington Accord, Sydney Accord and Dublin Accord are three major international accreditation agreements for professional engineering degrees.
The Washington Accord was established in 1989. The signatories of Washington Accord as of 2010 are Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong China, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, the Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The accord recognizes that there is substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those signatories. Graduates of accredited programs in any of the signatory countries are recognized by the other signatory countries as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering. Recognition of accredited programs is not retroactive but takes effect only from the date of admission of the country to signatory status.
The Washington Accord covers undergraduate engineering degrees. It does not cover the Engineering technology and postgraduate programs. Some engineering technology programs are covered under the Sydney Accord and the Dublin Accord. The Sydney Accord was signed in 2001. Dublin Accord, signed in 2007 is an agreement for the international recognition of Engineering Technician qualifications.
Only qualifications awarded after the signatory country or region became part of the Washington Accord are recognized. The accord is not directly responsible for the licensing or registration of Professional Engineers and Chartered Engineers, but it does cover the academic requirements that are part of the licensing processes in signatory countries.
India and Washington Accord
If India becomes a signatory to Washington Accord, the undergraduate engineering degrees from India will be brought on a par with those of the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and six other nations, easing mobility for Indian undergraduate engineers. The National Board of Accreditation, under the aegis of All India Council for Technical Education, plans to bid to become a permanent member of the Washington Accord in June 2013.
India is yet to invite the Washington Accord to audit its accreditation system, a crucial process for becoming a full member, despite the country being granted a provisional status in 2007. Hu Hanrahan, the chair of the Washington Accord, who was in India recently, for the first World Summit on Accreditation 2012, did not give any timeline for India’s becoming a full member of Washington Accord.