The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) is a statutory body set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria and established by Decree No. 55 of 1970 as amended by Decree 27 of 1992 and now Engineers (Registration, etc.) Act CAP E11 of 2004, further amended by Engineers (Registration, etc.) Act No. 3 of 2018, with the mandate to regulate and control the practice of Engineering in all aspects and ramifications. COREN carries out this mandate through Accreditation of Engineering Programmes in Universities, Polytechnics and Technical Colleges, Registration of Engineering Personnel and Firms, Engineering Regulation Monitoring and Issuance of Engineering Regulations on various aspects, etc.
The International Engineering Alliance (IEA) is a global not-for-profit organisation, which comprises members from 41 jurisdictions within 29 countries, across seven international agreements. These international agreements govern the recognition of engineering educational qualifications and professional competence.
Through the Educational Accords and Competence Agreements, members of the International Engineering Alliance establish and enforce internationally bench-marked standards for engineering education and expected competence for engineering practice.
Washington Accord (WA), signed in 1989, under the International Engineering Alliance, is an international multi-lateral agreement between bodies responsible for accreditation or recognition of tertiary-level engineering qualifications within their jurisdictions who have chosen to work collectively to assist the mobility of professional engineers. There are currently 21 countries in the WA, including UK, USA, Germany, Canada, Japan, China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Taiwan, Singapore, Hongkong, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Switzerland, South Africa, etc.
As practiced by the other Accords that cater for Engineering Technologists and Engineering Technicians-Sydney and Dublin, respectively, the signatories of the Washington Accord (W.A.) are committed to the development and recognition of good practice in engineering education. The activities of the Accord’s signatories are intended to assist the growth of globalization of mutual recognition of engineering qualifications. The Washington Accord is specifically focused on academic programmes which deal with the practice of engineering at the professional level. The Accord acknowledges that accreditation of engineering academic programmes is a key foundation for the practice of engineering at the professional level in each of the countries or territories covered by the Accord.
In the same vein, COREN expressed interest in becoming a member of the W.A. in 2018 and officially submitted its application in 2019, which could not receive the minimum required number of votes from other Signatories. Meanwhile, there were requirements necessary to be met before admission, such as stated below:
- Conformation of Engineering Education Curriculum to Outcome-Based Education (OBE).
- Sufficient evidence of the Independence of the Accreditation Body from Government or external influence.
- Sufficient evidence of financial capacity of the Accreditation Body.
- Submission of Necessary Preliminary Documents on Accreditation/Recognition System to the IEA Secretariat.
- Selection of 2 Member Economies to serve as Nominators.
- Hosting of an In-country High-Level Accreditation exercise with the two (2) Nominators as Observers.
- Formal Submission of Application Documents.
- Mentoring of the Applicant.
Pursuant to the need for an independent accreditation system, COREN enacted the Regulations on Accreditation of Engineering Programmes in Nigeria and inaugurated the Engineering Accreditation Committee (EAC). The EAC, being the body in charge of all accreditation matters, operates independently using the COREN OBE Accreditation Manual for Engineering Programmes in Nigerian Universities and COREN Programme Evaluator Guidelines.
These efforts by COREN were in a quest to achieve mobility and global recognition of Nigerian Engineers, its engineering degree and assessment (accreditation criteria) in line with global trends in engineering education and the necessity to comply with the emerging new order. Thus, COREN adopted the Washington Accord Standard for the evaluation of all Engineering and Technology based programmes in Nigerian Universities. The measurable outcomes to be evaluated for all engineering programmes in Nigerian Universities were henceforth based on the adopted Objectives of the Washington Accord (W.A.). In pursuant to achieving this goal, COREN organized and hosted the Train-the-Trainers Workshops on Outcome-Based Education for University Implementors in all six (6) geo-political zones of the federation where five hundred and forty-five (545) individuals were trained. The Outcome-Based Assessment (OBA) Programme Evaluators Workshop was also organized and held in two (2) locations where a total of three hundred and seven (307) OBA Programme Evaluators were trained. A database of all certified trainees from these trainings was established by COREN for storing, management and retrieval for use to meet the rising demands of OBE accreditation exercises. For far, a total of twelve (12) Engineering programmes have been accredited under the OBE system and counting.
The 6-man COREN delegation led by the President and Chairman-in-Council of COREN, Engr. Prof. Sadiq Zubair Abubakar, FNSE, FAEng represented Nigeria at the annual IEA meetings for 2023 which was hosted by the Institute of Engineering Education Taiwan (IEET) & Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE).
The International Engineering Alliance Meetings took place at The Lin Hotel in Taichung, Taiwan from Sunday June 11 to Thursday June 15, 2023. After a series of presentations made by the Nigerian delegation and interactions with the members of the WA at the meeting including COREN’s Road Map for the attainment of the Full Signatory Status and having satisfactorily met all requirements, COREN was admitted to become a Provisional Signatory of the Washington Accord on June 14, 2023, making Nigeria the 2nd African member of the Accord.
Below are some of the benefits of joining W.A. to COREN-registered Engineers:
- By virtue of COREN’s acceptance into the Washington Accord, the quality, productivity and mobility of Nigerian engineers would be improved upon and the engineering qualification offered in Nigeria is internationalized.
- Technology Transfer: Nigerian Engineers plying their trade in other economies of the world, will enhance the transfer of knowledge which will in turn, improve Nigeria’s technological capacity.
- Foreign Exchange: As Nigerian Engineers are opportune to practice in other parts of the world, the exchange of currencies between the two (2) economies is promoted.
- Having become a member Signatory of the Washington Accord, based on the minimum requirements and international best practices and standards, the quality of Engineering Education in Nigerian Universities will greatly improve because the implemented OBE system is student-centred.
- Engineering graduates in Nigeria will henceforth meet the demands of the industry both in-country and abroad.
Similar arrangements are being pursued by COREN under the Sydney and Dublin Accords for Nigerian Technologists and Technicians. Entry into these Accords would create great opportunities for Nigerian Engineering professionals.
This success story can never be complete without mentioning the immense support and professional guidance of COREN’s nominators – Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC).
Indeed, it is a super feat attained and a big congratulations to COREN, the Engineering profession, Nigeria and Africa at large as we soar for greater heights!
Engr. Prof. Sadiq Zubair Abubakar, FNSE, FAEng