From L to R: Eng. Arundathi Wimalasuiriya, Executive Secretary/ IESL, Eng. Shavi Fernando, President/ IESL and General Manager, CEB, Prof. Ananda Jayawardena, Past President/ IESL and Vice Chancellor, University of Moratuwa, Prof. Hu Hanrahan, Chair, Washington Accord from South Africa, Prof. L. L. Ratnayake, Past President/ IESL and Chairman, SLIIT, Prof. Robin King, Chair, Evaluation Panel for Sri Lanka from Australia and Eng. Basil Wakelin, Chair, IPEA from New Zealand.
“ Washington Accord model has become the international gold standard for mutual recognition of engineering education”
The Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) proudly announces that the Washington Accord Signatory countries unanimously decided to admit Sri Lanka to their rank at the June 2014 International Engineering Meetings held in Wellington, New Zealand. This decision was arrived at after a rigorous evaluation of the IESL accreditation procedures and the standards of the 4 year B.Sc. Eng. degree programs accredited by IESL, by a team of experts from the Washington Accord Signatory countries during the last 4 years.Australia, Canada, Ireland, United States of America, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Turkeywere the 15 Washington Accord Signatory countries up to June 13, 2014. This is a land mark decision for the Sri Lankan engineers who graduate with 4 year B. Sc. Eng. degrees accredited by the IESL. These engineering graduates will be internationally recognized in these 15 countries as holders of engineering qualifications substantially equivalent to 4 year engineering programs accredited by the accrediting bodies of their own countries, and recognized as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in those countries as well. Thus our engineers with IESL accredited programs will have the benefit of being recognized among the developed nations as those who can enter the globally connected workplace.
The Washington accord model has become the international gold standard for mutual recognition of engineering education. For 25 years the Washington Accord has provided a mechanism for mutual recognition of engineering graduates of accredited programs leading to become Professional/ Chartered Engineers among its signatories. The Washington Accord has also set the foundation and standards for graduate attributes and accreditation of programs and defines the educational basis for the International Professional Engineers Agreement. The international recognition and portability of both educational qualifications and professional competency is becoming increasingly important in this age of global interdependence but unbalanced global development, which requires the movement of engineering skills around the world. The Washington Accord has made a considerable impact on improvements in engineering education throughout the world.
Benefits of IESL being a Signatory to the Washington Accord
The engineering graduates with degrees that have been accredited by a signatory to the Washington Accord will possess a set of given attributes including knowledge of engineering science, modern tool usage, problem analysis skills, capability to design / develop solutions and carry out investigations related to complex engineering problems. He /She will be adept at project management, conscious of engineering ethics, environment and sustainability and willing to engage in lifelong learning. He/she also will be committed to both individual and team work and possess good communication skills.
In the context of today’s competitive environment, graduates who have the above attributes will be in high demand among prospective employers in Sri Lanka. Organizations that employ graduates with a degree accredited by IESL will stand a good chance of securing contracts overseas since the degrees of these graduates will be globally recognized. Higher Educational Institutions that offer accredited degree programs will succeed in attractingforeign students to their degree programs.
Thus IESL now being a signatory to the internationally accepted Washington Accord, the engineering degree programs that it accredits will receive global recognition. The direct beneficiaries of this would be the graduates of these IESL accredited degrees and the employers who employ such graduates. The academic staff and the institutions conducting such study programs will also gain international recognition.
The IESL is also a full member of the ‘International Professional Engineers Agreement’ (IPEA), formerly known as the Engineers Mobility Forum (EMF). The IESL was admitted to EMF as a full member in 2007 and thereby got the privilege to award the International Professional Engineer (Int. P. Eng.) qualification to the engineers with accredited engineering programs and more than 7 years of responsible experience after graduation. A team of senior engineers nominated by the IPEA reviewed the procedures and standards adopted by IESL in awardingInt. P. Eng. qualification during the period 2013 - 2014, and at the June 2014 International Engineering Meetings held in Wellington, New Zealand,the members of the IPEA unanimously decided to recognize IESL Int. P. Eng. qualification for a further period of 6 years. Thus IESL is now a signatory to two international engineering agreements.
Journey of IESL towards being an Internationally Recognized Professional Body
In June 2003, a delegation from IESL attended the International Engineering Meetings in Rotorua, New Zealand and presented a paper on the Sri Lankan School and University Education system giving the highlights of the 4 year B. Sc. Eng. degrees programs and the requirements to become a Chartered Engineer of the IESL and declared its intentions to become a signatory to the EMF and the Washington Accord. The then full Members of EMF and the signatories of the Washington Accord were in general happy with our education systems and standards and the procedures followed by the IESL in awarding the Chartered Engineer qualification. Furthermore,the IESL was also provided with very valuable advice on as to how to improve the systems and standards in order to align itself with international procedures, standards, structures etc.
After many deliberations,new By Laws were adopted at the October 2004 Annual General Meeting of the IESL to establish the IESL Registration Board and the IESL Accreditation Board, and immediately thereafter members were appointed to the two Boards. Considerable work went in to have in place new By Laws and Rules for the award of the Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) qualification by the IESL and the first batch of Professional Engineers was registered in 2005, after a stringent evaluation procedure.
In June 2005, a delegation from the IESL attended the International Engineering Meetings held in Hong Kong at which the IESL’s application to become a Provisional Member of EMF was successful. In the meantime, the IESL Accreditation Board went on to develop an Accreditation Manual during the period 2006- 2007 with assistance from Engineers Australia, in preparation for submitting an application for provisional membership of the Washington Accord.
In June 2007, a delegation from the IESL attended the International Engineering Meetings held in Washington DC and made applications for the full Membership of the EMF and Provisional Membership of the Washington Accord. Both applications were successful, to the delight of the IESL.
The IESL’s desire to become a signatory to the Washington Accord took a long time to materialize as there were many areas in the accreditation procedures and the University engineering curricula that needed to be addressed and rectified in order to comply with the Washington Accord requirements. However, a team of dedicated IESL members and University academic staff members diligently worked to fulfill these requirements which resulted in IESL becoming a signatory to the Washington Accord in June 2014.
IESL Accredited Degrees and Recognized Degrees
Being a Washington Accord Signatory,the four year full time Engineering Degrees conducted within its jurisdiction (Sri Lanka) and which are accredited by IESL will be mutually recognized by the other Washington Accord countries as meeting the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in any of their countries. At present most of the B. Sc. Eng. degree programs of the Peradeniya, Moratuwa and Ruhuna Universities have been accredited by the IESL and the list is available on its web site (www.iesl.lk).
There is a provision for IESL to recognize degrees that do not qualify for accreditation due to non-compliance with the accreditation criteria. Such recognized degrees will qualify the graduates to become Associate Members of IESL and be eligible for the Corporate Membership / Chartered Engineer status after obtaining the required training and experience. However, those degrees do not satisfy the eligibility criteria for mutual recognition under the Washington Accord nor do they met the educational base required for Int. P.Eng.
Facts to be aware of by Prospective Engineering Students and their Parents
Prospective students who intend to enroll for engineering degree programs offered by foreign Universities and Private Higher Education Institutions in Sri Lanka and their parents are strongly advised to verify for themselves the status of recognition of the respective degree programs by the IESL, in order to avoid disappointment in seeking employment in Sri Lanka and abroad after graduation.
The Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka (IESL)
Headquarters of the Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka
The Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) founded in 1906 was incorporated by an Act Parliament in 1968. IESL is the apex professional engineering body in Sri Lanka, which, in accordance with the objects set out in its Act, is obliged to promote and advance the science and practice of engineering in Sri Lanka. Towards this end, it takes steps to ensure that internationally recognized and locally relevant standards.Through a rigorous assessment it accredits engineering degrees and awards Chartered Engineer status to those who possess the requisite academic qualifications and experience.