At the International Engineering Alliance 2016 Meeting (IEAM2016) on 2 June 2016 at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Washington Accord (WA) officially admitted the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), as a full signatory status of WA. This is a recognition by the other signatories of the substantial equivalence of the engineering academic programs accredited by CAST.
It means that the engineering education programs on the mainland of China accredited by the China Engineering Education Accreditation Association (CEEAA), an body affiliated to CAST, will be recognized by all the signatory bodies of the WA.
To be the signatory of WA is conducive to improve the quality of engineering education in China, to enhance training engineers according to the international standards and improve the training quality of engineering and technical personnel. It is the foundation of and key to promoting the international mutual recognition of engineering qualifications, and thus of important significance for China engineering technical community to cope with the international competition and open to the world.
The Washington Accord, signed in 1989 by the professional engineering groups of the United States, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programs. It aims to establish an engineering education accreditation system recognizing the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by its signatories to improve the engineering education quality and lay the foundation for international mutual recognition of engineering qualifications. So far its signatories include Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, China’s Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also has six countries with provisional signatory status, including Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, and the Philippines.
There are six international agreements under International Engineering Alliance (IEA) governing mutual recognition of engineering qualifications and professional competence, including the Washington Accord, the Sydney Accord, the Dublin Accord, the International Professional Engineers Agreement, the APEC Engineer Agreement and the International Engineering Technologist Agreement. The WA is the most authoritative one among six agreements, which is more internationalized and systemized. It is considered the basis on which a country or a territory can apply to join the other related agreements.
China has carried out the reform of engineering accreditation system since 2005. At the end of January 2013, CAST submitted the application to the WA Secretariat and accepted as the provisional signatory at IEAM held in Seoul, South Korea on June 19, 2013. In January 2016, A working group appointed by the WA Secretariat suggested the WA accept CAST as its signatory after on site visits to several universities in China.
Prof. Zhang Qin, Vice President and Executive Secretary of CAST, headed a delegation consisting of members from related institutions in China and attended the IEAM 2016 held in Kuala Lumpur.