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Title: Engineering accreditation: a developing nation perspective
Authors: Yahya, Adnan
Issue Date: Nov-2007
Publisher: ResearchGate
Abstract: In many developing countries engineering education is young and characterized by two contradictory trends. On the one hand, strained finances may force available resources to fall below the levels required by world standards. On the other hand, many engineers are graduates of foreign universities and more graduates of local engineering schools are having their careers in industrial nations, be it for postgraduate studies or for employment. This results in many institutions trying to meet the global accreditation standards where possible at the expense of local considerations in engineering programs, an effort that may not extend to areas where the costs are substantial such as laboratory equipment and faculty load and training. Pressure mounts to increase class size and to replace real lab work by simulations, traditional instruction by virtual classes. This resulted in a situation where a large number of engineering programs meet the accreditation criteria only partially, a fact that complicates the task of accreditation bodies. They find it necessary to practice retrospective accreditation of engineering degrees from widely varying educational systems, without clear local standards to measure against. Outcomes based assessment is the exception and the focus is almost entirely on incomes and numbers. No major studies or exams are being performed to evaluate and compare the quality of graduates and to offer ranking of programs. On the example of export oriented engineering education in Palestine we elaborate on the efforts to adapt ABET style accreditation requirements and procedures to a developing nation context and the effects of such an approach on the quality of outcomes in terms of the suitability for the market place. We argue that proper accreditation can do much to encourage engineering schools to improve performance, consolidate programs and attract/retain qualified faculty and subsequently contribute to economic development in the country
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