As empires rapidly dissolved after 1960 many dominions and colonies had partly or completely adapted the institutional and academic engineering governance models of the colonizers. A large number of engineering associations resulted from this laying the foundation stones for an ‘unofficial Commonwealth’ of professional associations and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).16 Globally this meant that licensing and regulation of engineers became more prevalent as a means of maintaining engineering standards and protecting public safety, health and welfare.
Just as issues of national mobility of engineers across states had emerged in America at the turn of the twentieth century, issues of international recognition of qualifications started to become significant after 1960. Multi-lateral credential recognition agreements began to be put in place. These were meant to promote mobility of engineers across borders but were largely derived from the traditional model of core industrialized countries as leaders and developing countries as peripheral followers. These international agreements and discussions can now be divided into two components:
Mutual Recognition and accreditation of Academic Qualification Agreements and;
Mobility Forums concerned with assessing professional practice and registration of engineers
A myriad of national and international mutual recognition agreements have evolved since 1989. These include the Washington, Dublin and Sydney accords initiated by ABET, the APEC and ASEAN Registers of Asian Engineers and the FEANI and Bologna Accords to standardize engineering education across Europe. Since the mid nineties focus has shifted to mobility forums concerned with assessing professional practice and registration of engineers across borders.
Significantly different accreditation outcomes have resulted from these. ABET in America has extended accreditation to international levels. It accredits over 3,100 programs at more than 600 institutions in 22 Countries (as of September 2011). CEAB in Canada however has failed to internationalize and currently only accredits 220 engineering programs in 43 schools across Canada. Consequently Engineers migrating to America from other countries face few barriers to licensing or employment while only 1 in 6 of those migrating to Canada get to be licensed or employed as engineers in Canada. Mobility and accreditation now face new challenges.
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Gurmeet Bambrah, is the founder of TalentHunt360