Message from the President
Message from the President & Messages from Four past Presidents
Message from the President
Inauguration Greeting - Returning to the original intention at the time of JABEE's inception
Dr. Kikuo Kishimoto (President, 2023-)
I was elected as the sixth President of JABEE at the Board of Directors meeting on 1 June 2023, succeeding former President Tatsuo Tomita.
JABEE was established in 1999 and became a full member (signatory) of the Washington Accord in the International Engineering Alliance (IEA) in 2005 as the only accreditation body representing Japan. For more than 20 years, JABEE has been accrediting educational programs to foster experts in engineering, agriculture, and science at higher education institutions from the perspectives of "knowledge and abilities required of engineers" and "standards demanded by society," and has made a significant contribution to the society. The total number of accredited programs as of FY2021 is over 500, and the total number of graduates has reached approximately 340,000. In addition, JABEE also conducts accreditation of professional graduate schools and accreditation on the accreditation system for the educational programs of National Colleges of Technology (KOSEN). Internationally, JABEE is also a full member of the Seoul Accord for information technology and the Canberra Accord for architecture Education. The purpose of the international agreement is to mutually recognize that graduates of accredited engineering education programs meet the same higher education requirements for the profession of engineering across countries and regions. This means that programs accredited by JABEE are guaranteed to be of an internationally equivalent standard.
Engineering is a human activity, and therefore, in order to practice excellent engineering, it is necessary to have human resources with the qualities and abilities to carry it out. It is necessary for all parties concerned to have a common understanding of the knowledge and abilities expected of graduates of higher education who aim to become engineers, the qualities and abilities (competencies) required of expert engineers and professional engineers, and effective human resource development programs and evaluation of their achievement for these qualities and abilities. Based on these common understanding, human resource development should be carried out. Internationally, the IEA serves as a forum for fostering common understanding. The IEA recognizes that quality assurance and international equivalence of education in higher education institutions, and quality assurance and international mobility of professional qualifications are on the same line. IEA has established the Graduate Attributes (GA) and Professional Competencies (PC) required of graduates of higher education programs and professional engineers, respectively as reference standards.
The accreditation of educational programs and engineering qualifications by the signatories is required to be based on these reference standards. The first step is to start as an engineer by acquiring GA required of graduates by studying in a higher education program that meets the accreditation criteria. Then, through practical experience and study through Initial Professional Development (IPD), they acquire P required of engineers and obtain a professional engineer license. The next stage is the stage in which the engineer is active as a professional engineer through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Therefore, in order for this framework to function, it is necessary to establish mechanisms for (1) accreditation of higher education programs, (2) initial skills development, (3) accreditation of engineering qualifications, and (4) continuing professional development. IEA signatories are responsible for accrediting education and professional engineering qualifications using the GA and PC as reference standards. IEA signatories are responsible for accreditation of education and professional qualifications using the GA and PC as reference standards. The JABEE accreditation criteria are formed to satisfy this requirement.
Through the activities of the IEA, a common understanding has been developed worldwide of the GA that graduates of higher education should acquire and the PC required of engineers as professionals. The revised fourth edition of the IEA's GA and PC was approved at the 2021 meeting. The background to these revisions is that the role of the engineering profession is changing in order to realize a more sustainable and just society that the world aspires to. IEA signatories are expected to conduct their accreditation in accordance with these revisions. In other words, higher education institutions are expected to revise their educational programs in line with the new GA.
To become a signatory of the Washington Accord, an organization must have a provisional membership, which requires the approval of at least 2/3 of the existing signatories. After that, the number of accredited programs must be increased, the accreditation system must be enhanced, and after evaluation by the verification review team, the report must be approved by all signatories, i.e., unanimous. The process of becoming a signatory is a long journey, as approval is required from all signatories. At the Washington meeting, when a new signatory is admitted, member of the organization who have been waiting outside are welcomed into the meeting room and congratulated with a standing ovation. It is a wonderful moment to see them entering the hall, feeling the joy that their efforts have been rewarded and the sense of fulfillment that their educational programs have been recognized as meeting a global standard. Membership is spreading around the world, and mentoring activities to support new membership are being conducted in cooperation with signatories. JABEE began supporting the establishment of the Indonesian Accreditation Board for Engineering Education (IABEE) in 2014, and has provided long-term assistance until the IABEE becomes a signatory in 2022 and a full-privileged member organization at June 2023 meeting. The corona pandemic caused the IABEE to take longer period than normal to become a signatory, and the patience and efforts of all involved were extraordinary. To be a signatory is a great achievement of IABEE and also great pleasure for JABEE. I personally had the opportunity to attend the meeting and was able to share the joy with the member of IABEE from the bottom of my heart.
In this age of various challenges, it is an urgent issue to develop and secure human resources who can play an active role in social reform and the creation of new industries, and who can perform at an international level. In this context, I believe that we need to seriously consider how we should train engineers in Japan also. I have been involved with JABEE since its inception. I started out in the field of mechanical engineering and gradually became involved in JABEE activities as a whole. I especially remember the heated discussions at the time of JABEE's inception. I remember that they were full of enthusiasm to reform Japanese engineering education and to foster world-class, excellent engineers. There were active discussions among industry, academia, and government. I would like to return to the original intention of JABEE at the time of its inception and promote JABEE activities in close cooperation with related academic associations. As the new president, I will do my best to contribute to the strengthening of JABEE activities. I would greatly appreciate your lasting cooperation.