Thousands of Indian Engineers in Kuwait loosing jobs
Indian Engineers, some of them working at senior levels in oil-rich Kuwait have been struck by a new regulation.
The Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), a government department from the country is looking at invalidating BTech degrees awarded by institutions that are not recognised by India’s National Board of Accreditation (NBA). A circular issued by this department in March says that the labour department will discontinue offering work permits to expat engineers unless a no-objection certificate from the Kuwait Engineers Society was attached. The ruling says that a no-objection certificate would be issued only if the institutions were accredited by the NBA. According to unverified media reports, Kuwait employs close to 10,000 Indian engineers. With the possibility of job losses looming large, a number of engineers, including those who have completed their academics from the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) are seemingly depressed. Engineers who have completed decades of work in the country too are stressed owing to the new ruling.
The engineers staring prospects of job losses, have sought the help of External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj as well as Prakash Javdekar, the HRD minister. The NBA was setup as an independent body in 2010, and has been the national body accrediting colleges that offer courses in engineering. Accreditation for universities and general colleges is done by the National Assessment and Accreditation council (NAAC). The PAM’s directive could even leave engineers from prestigious institutions such as IIT, IISc Bengaluru, BITS Pilani, Jadavpur University and Calcutta University to jobless. These institutions have been offering three year BTech degree courses for BSc graduates. Ditto for the National institutes of Technology (NITs). So far, a forum called the Progressive Professional Forum has expressed its concerns with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention. An HRD official said that the ministry had discussed with the labour department officials from Kuwait. But the challenges are expected to rise in the near short, considering that the NBA cannot offer retrospective accreditation for universities and educational institutions. A letter drafted by R. Subrahmanyam, the secretary for higher education, confirmed this. According to various sources and media reports, the government has been arguing that institutions like the IITs and IISc Bangalore were recognized globally, and there was no reason for an accreditation. The government has been asking officials in Kuwait to withdraw the new condition. A Kuwaiti trade representation is planning to visit India to discuss for a solution. Besides the big IITs, the decision is likely to impact various colleges and engineering courses conducted across the country.
If you are an engineer and keen to check your college’s accreditation, do visit the NBA website. (Clicking this link will take you the website of National Board of Accreditation). Do select the correct program name from the drop down menu.