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HE Bulletin - Spring 2021

Covid-19 and accreditation

Published: 15/04/2021

covid moleculeThe Engineering Council and the professional engineering institutions we license recognise that Covid-19 is presenting many challenges for universities, and we are keen to be flexible and supportive whilst ensuring that standards are maintained. Anyone with queries related to either continued accreditation of programmes in light of changes in response to Covid-19 or future accreditation activity is advised to contact their accrediting professional engineering institution, or contact the Engineering Council accreditation team at accreditation@engc.org.uk  

We updated our ‘Covid 19: Information for HE Providers’ in January 2021. This can be found under the heading ‘useful documents’ on both the Engineering Council webpage Information for HE providers and the EAB page.  This document emphasises that we are flexible with regards to delivery and assessment, so long as HEIs can continue to demonstrate, to accrediting professional engineering institutions, that graduating students will have achieved the required learning outcomes. Changes were made to reorder the presentation of options for professional engineering institutions to deal with accreditation during the pandemic and give them discretion to judge whether follow up visits are required after virtual visits.  

Professional engineering institutions have the option to consider, on a risk-based case-by-case basis, whether to hold virtual accreditation visits during 2021. Decisions on whether to permit virtual visits beyond 2021 will be made in due course, informed by both the developing roadmap out of lockdown and initial experiences of virtual visits.

The Engineering Council’s Education and Skills Manager provided a short verbal briefing in January to the Minister of State for Universities on how engineering HE and accreditation of engineering degrees was responding to the pandemic. This was part of an event arranged at short notice by the QAA for Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) to advise the Minister on how the HE sector could best be assisted to ensure students can graduate from accredited degrees. A number of engineering academics provided valuable information to the Education and Skills Manager at very short notice in advance of this meeting and are thanked for their inputs. 

The Engineering Professors’ Council (EPC) has published a report Emerging Stronger: Lasting Impact from Crisis Innovation and may produce a further report as engineering academics continue to make and learn from changes in response to the pandemic.

Engineering departments may find some of the guidance provided by a range of agencies in relation to Covid-19 to be useful, including:

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