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Transnational recognition and accreditation of engineering educational programmes in Europe: perspectives in a global framework

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In a previous paper the author described the present situation and recent advances regarding accreditation of engineering programmes in Europe. This paper contains an attempt at examining perspectives from a global viewpoint. While the variety of educational approaches within European higher education is to be considered a great asset of the European cultural background, the ‘Bologna Process' is working to build up the ‘European Higher Education Area' (EHEA) and ‘a system of easily readable and comparable degrees' in the context of making Europe ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world'. In this framework a pan-European system of accreditation of engineering programmes and qualifications will be essential in order for European engineers to be competitive on a global scale. While the merely ‘professional' aspects of recognition are covered by the European Directive 2005/36/EC ‘on the recognition of professional qualifications' (which replaces all previous Directives on the subject, including the 1989 General Directive 89/48/EEC), little progress has been made towards trans-European accreditation of educational programmes as the entry route to a profession. This is particularly damaging in highly internationalized professions, like engineering. Several initiatives have been put forward in recent years to remedy this situation: in particular, this paper will illustrate the current EUR-ACE (EURopean ACredited Engineer) project, which is working towards the establishment of a European system for accreditation of engineering educational programmes based on a network of spontaneous agreements between national and regional bodies and associations concerned.
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Keywords: Accreditation; Engineering education; European competitiveness; Recognition; Globalization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Facolta di Ingegneria, Universita di Roma ‘La Sapienza', Via Eudossiana 18, 00184, Roma, Italy

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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