The Faculty of Engineering and Technology (FET) has taken yet another giant step to bolster the global competitiveness of its graduates following accreditation and alignment of its programmes with international standards.
The move follows professional accreditation of three programmes in the fields of urban and regional planning as well as industrial design; with four further programmes in engineering fields at advanced stages of accreditation. The programmes are accredited by internationally recognised professional bodies and institutions such as the London based Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) and Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).
One of the RTPI accredited programmes is the Bachelor of Science/Master of Arts Professional Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, a four-year BSc and a year MA (Professional) in Urban and Regional Planning (4+1). The MA is a professional year; like a 5th year to the fourth year bachelor programme and is part of the undergraduate programme. One may also do the fifth year with a BSc or BA in an urban or regional planning field from any other recognized university.
Marking its Centenary this year, RTPI is a leading membership organisation and a Chartered Institute responsible for maintaining professional standards and accrediting world class planning programmes in the UK and internationally. Therefore, being RTPI accredited, means the University of Botswana and the Faculty of Engineering and Technology in particular, is part of more than 23 000 members in 82 countries.
The other programmes that have been accredited are Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) and Bachelor of Design (Design and Technology Education) which have both been accredited by the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED). Founded in 1945 and Chartered in 2012, IED is a British professional engineering institution and a premier membership body representing engineering and product designers. Its aim is to support and inspire members to achieve their career goals and professional aspirations.
Meanwhile, the programmes to be accredited by ECSA are BEng (Civil Engineering), BEng (Electronic Engineering), BEng (Mechanical Engineering) and BEng (Electrical Engineering). ECSA is a South Africa statutory body established in 2000 which apart from regulation of the engineering profession, also plays core functions of accreditation of engineering programmes, registration of persons as professionals in specified categories, and the regulation of the practice of registered persons.
ECSA is the only body in South Africa that is authorised to register engineering professionals and bestow the use of engineering titles, such as Pr Eng, Pr Tech Eng, Pr Techni Eng, Pr Cert Eng, on persons who have met the requisite professional registration criteria. Most importantly, through ECSA accreditation, University of Botswana trained engineers are now recognised in the 20 industrialised countries that are signatory to the Washington Accord that allows engineers trained in any of their member states to be recognised anywhere in the member states’ jurisdictions.
The Washington Accord has set the foundation and standards for graduate attributes and accreditation of programmes. The signatories to the Accord are national bodies responsible for accrediting engineering higher education programmes. Member countries include Britain, Canada, Australia, USA, Russia, Hong Kong, India and Japan amongst others. And, South Africa, through ECSA, is the only member from the African continent.