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IITs loath to take up accreditation role

The Telegraph | BASANT KUMAR MOHANTY |  January 2 , 2017  |

New Delhi, Jan. 1: The Indian Institutes of Technology have expressed concern over the human resource development ministry’s proposal that they help assess and accredit institutions on quality criteria. After the ministry disclosed plans to start accreditation centres in the premier tech schools and in the Indian Institutes of Management, the matter was discussed at an IIT directors’ meeting in IIT Kanpur on December 12. Several directors were sceptical about the IITs taking on the role of accreditation agencies like the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), which accredits engineering and management programmes, and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which accredits general colleges and universities. Some directors said the proposed role would dilute the tech schools’ core mandate of teaching and research in technical education. But they agreed to provide “limited” assistance and expertise so that their core functions would remain unaffected.

HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has been advocating making the IITs parallel assessors alongside the NBA and the NAAC. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha on December 5, junior HRD minister Mahendra Nath Pandey said: “Government had a proposal to create reliable accreditation centres in IITs, IIMs. Details in this regard are being worked out.” The aim of setting up such accreditation centres is to assist existing agencies like the NBA and the NAAC to speed up the accreditation process. The centres would assess colleges and universities based on the accreditation process of the NBA and the NAAC, Pandey said. IIT Kanpur director Indranil Manna said the IITs should not be made part of any agency for the purpose of accreditation. “We are not averse to contributing to the national cause. But we do not want to be part of any agency,” Manna said. He said the core mandate of the IITs was teaching and research, not accreditation. “We may mentor or help in assessment. We cannot operate like a dedicated agency. We can play a limited role in this,” Manna said.

IIT Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi said the IITs could play a limited role by assessing the academic aspects of institutions. Accreditation involves assessing physical infrastructure as well as faculty, lab facilities and the academic curriculum. “There are a lot of experienced teachers in the IITs. They can help in validating the academic aspects of courses and the curriculum. But I do not know if the IITs can become accreditation agencies,” Ramamurthi said. The University Grants Commission, the higher education regulator, has objected to involving IITs in accreditation work, saying it should remain with institutions like the NAAC and the NBA.  ministry official said the new role was being proposed for the IITs and the IIMs because of heavy load on the two existing agencies. There are 38,000 general colleges, 4,000 engineering colleges and 800 universities in the country. The rate of accreditation of courses or institutions is abysmal in India. Only 20 per cent of the engineering programmes offered by the 4,000 colleges have so far got accreditation from the NBA.

Also, many institutions are not eligible to apply for accreditation as they do not fulfil minimum requirements like 50 per cent admission in every programme, at least one professor or one associate professor in a department and 10 per cent faculty with PhD qualification. The functioning of the NAAC has come under scrutiny after it gave Grade A to 17 deemed universities which were declared “unworthy” of a deemed tag by a separate review committee headed by P.N. Tandon. The ministry wants to involve more organisations in accreditation work so that the load will be shared and competition will bring an improvement in accreditation standards. Ministry officials attended the IIT directors’ meeting and explained the proposal. The IIT asked the officials to work out details about their role. The ministry is likely to hold a meeting with the UGC, NAAC, NBA and the All India Council of Technical Education to finalise a framework for an accreditation role for the IITs and the IIMs. –  Courtesy

Clarivate Analytics, National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and INFLIBNET Collaborate to Provide Web of Science Data for the NIRF

Dataquest Online | November 20, 2016  |

Clarivate Analytics, formerly the IP & Science business of Thomson Reuters was selected to provide research metrics from Web of Science for the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). Data from the Web of Science will be one of the multiple parameters used to analyze over 3,000 academic institutions and rank them based on a combined framework developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Clarivate will conduct this analysis in collaboration with the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and INFLIBNET (Information and Library Network Centre), as formalized in a three-part Memorandum of Understanding signed here. The Indian government plans to release its ranking in April of 2017. In addition to an overall ranking, it will include rankings within specific disciplines such as engineering, medicine, pharmacy, architecture, law and management. A key change in the NIRF for 2017 is the inclusion of research quality metrics in granting the research score to each institute. The Category Normalized Citation Impact is one such research quality metric. This normalizes the citation count for each article for publication year and subject category. An additional research quality metric used is the number of highly cited papers as featured in the Web of Science database. This recognizes the leading papers in a particular field based on the number of citations it has received.

“The National Institutional Ranking Framework promises to catalyze academic and research excellence in Indian academic institutions. The introduction of research quality metrics in NIRF will also reward and encourage quality research,” said Arvind Pachhapur, South Asia Head, Clarivate Analytics. The Web of Science database provides a single destination to access the most reliable, integrated, multidisciplinary research. Used by over 7,000 research organizations across the world, Web of Science consists of seven citation databases including sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities covering impactful scientific research from scholarly books, journals, conference proceedings, published data sets and patents. Web of Science data has been used in other global rankings such as Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities, Reuters Top 100 most innovative Asian universities and the CWTS Leiden Ranking. –  Courtesy

Coming soon, a digital e-assessment model of institutions

Hindustan Times |  Gauri Kohli  |   Oct 12, 2016 |

Colleges and universities are likely to be digitally assessed for excellence in the near future. A team of experts has submitted a proposal on this to NITI Aayog recently.  The assessment plan has been submitted under the Atal Incubation Centre. It aims to move the current manual assessment of institutions and universities on education quality to a proposed digital e-assessment platform. According to Prof A Rajagopal, an expert in digital assessment who has submitted the proposal, “The current system of Indian HEIs has many issues leading to a poor quality of the stakeholders’ experiences. Credibility of institutions and the education system is always debated.”

National-level assessment agencies like National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) lack the use of technology support for better quality assessments and deliverables to meet the large scale and tremendous volumes of data and information. “The drawback is that so many assessment bodies and agencies globally are available with their own standards and frameworks, methodologies and ways of assessing tailored to some specific needs. Setting up of a technology platform for conducting digital e-assessment of institutions to help assessment and certifying bodies such as NAAC, National Board of Accreditation to make assessments human- independent is must.” The proposal aims to do away with any instances of corruption in the assessment process and ensure its scalability. “Once the proposal is approved, we will help come up with automated processes and online systems for education quality assessment to NAAC, NBA etc., to measure the quality and ranking of the universities and institutions,” he says.  The online system will capture the learnings index, knowledge index, assessment and quality index at every institution based on the framework defined.

“The proposed framework will also give an indication on where an institution stands, with respect to other education quality frameworks such as Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, International Organisation for Standardisation, ABET model, (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), NBA model of AICTE (National Board of Accreditation from the All India Council for Technical Education), and NAAC,” says Rajagopal. Experts say that digital assessment can help institutions tremendously. According to Prof Mariam Varghese, former vice chancellor, SNDT Women’s University, and an expert in digital assessment who had developed a model on this a decade ago, “Such as system will cover the entire nation which has a high number of HEIs. Since everything is quantified, it will also help curb corruption. Assessment can be done faster and at regular intervals and it will be more transparent.” Regular assessment and accreditation is mandatory for colleges and universities in the country after notifications from the University Grants Commission. Institutions must have grading from NAAC to be eligible for UGC funding and for autonomy. –  Courtesy

Getting feedback from students is essential

Deccan Herald | Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti | Oct 06, 2016 |

The first semester of the academic year is wrapping up in many universities. Stress levels tend to peak now for students as the examination period is fast approaching. While students prepare for their examinations, they have an important duty to do: giving course feedback.  What is a course feedback? It is essentially gathering feedback from the students about a course anonymously. The feedback is done in a questionnaire format, either by multiple choice questions or by descriptive inputs. Sometimes, it has a mix of both.  This feedback is supposed to be used by the instructor to improve the course, and sometimes by the university as means to estimate the success of instructors. Accreditation bodies like NAAC, NBA and UGC have made student feedback a mandatory part of the educational process of universities. Hence, universities mandate this to ensure continuous improvement in the quality of the education.  Listening to the students’ opinions can prove to be beneficial. A university course is akin to any product. Therefore, the right of judgement about its quality goes to its main customers: the students. Good feedback is a valuable tool for both the instructor and the university to build upon the strengths of a course and address the challenges. However, if it is badly designed, the feedback process can become completely useless.

The challenges include:

*A feedback questionnaire that lays emphasis on irrelevant points and undermines crucial ones leads to mistaken judgements being passed about the course and the instructor.
*Disgruntled students may take advantage of the anonymity and use disrespectful language.
*Just like patterned university examinations, a patterned questionnaire may encourage instructors to adopt a populist method of teaching. This eventually compromises academic standards.

Be constructive

Designing and implementing an effective student feedback system can benefit both the students and university in a variety of ways. However, to ensure that it is truly effective, here are a few tips that students need to keep in mind before they give the course feedback:

*Your feedback is critical to ensure that best practices are followed in teaching. Many students may give it a miss as they might think that the university may not implement the feedback. However, action on your feedback might turn out to be surprisingly quick and apparent.

*Praise can encourage even the most experienced of professors to strive better. But more importantly, it is important to know what worked well.

*It is also important to note what did not work well. So, by all means, do provide criticism. But, let your criticism be actionable. Tell what you would like to be added or removed in the course. If possible, focus on the technical aspects. Statements like ‘bad professor’ are totally useless in helping the instructor improve the course. Instead, how about, “Please add more programming activities in the lectures?”

*If any encounter with the instructor has ticked you off, please don’t use the feedback as a means to take it out on him or her. Remember that a semester is a reasonably long period of interaction, and the whole experience can’t be judged on the basis of one data point.

*Avoid passing personal or general judgements about a professor. Comments on looks, dressing style, accent, odour should be completely avoided. Remarks on the behavioural aspects are acceptable only if coming directly in the way of proper learning. For instance, “Professor is not punctual” could be rephrased to “Lectures often run too long eating into the next lecture or lunch time.”

In short, make your feedback count by making it constructive and objective to the best of your ability. While some things will work in the course’s favour, there are some that will not.  Remember, if you have indeed learned something useful from a course, it is important that your feedback does reflect that reality. It is also important to mention  areas where there is a scope for improvement. Also, while giving feedback, ensure that you do not use strongly opinionated words. Focus on the goals of a course, and do your bit in helping your university achieve them by giving a constructive feedback to all courses you do. –  (The author is assistant professor, International Institute of Information Technology, Bengaluru) – Courtesy

NITI Aayog suggests private bodies for educational accreditation: Sources

Neelam Pandey |  Hindustan Times, New Delhi |   May 16, 2016 |

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has asked the Union human resource ministry to explore the option of privatising the process of accrediting higher education institutions to clear the current backlog, sources have said. In the recent meeting held by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the policy think tank of the government presented a case for evolving guidelines to allow internationally-reputed institutions to accredit Indian courses and institutions, which is not permitted currently in India.  Accreditation is a process by which the outcomes of the learning process are evaluated by a team of experts. One of the major reasons why Aayog is pushing for this is the huge backlog in granting accreditation by National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the agency for accrediting institutions that are under the purview of University Grants Commission (UGC), and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) that accredits courses in technical education.  According to reports, 6,388 out of 15,000 institutions are qualified to apply for accreditation, the capacity of the NAAC is to accredit only 1,000 institutions a year. “It would require nine years to clear the backlog at this rate. Similarly, in technical education only 1,000 programmes out of 12,000 programmes are accredited,” a senior official said.

Sources said that though the HRD ministry agreed with the need to push up the process, it is of the view that improving the existing methods and adoption of better technology is a more desirable way than bringing in foreign agencies.  “If international bodies are allowed to conduct accreditation, the cost of accreditation will go up enormously since the foreign bodies would take much more resources to come into India and operate. This could then reflect in their fee structure,” a senior HRD official said.  “The opening up of doors to private operators could bring in issues of quality since these organisations are not under any regulation,” he added. Accreditation examines and certifies the standards being maintained in higher education using an outcome-based approach. For parents, students and other stakeholders, it acts as a guide to choosing institutions based on assured quality.

It allows institutions and academic administrators to focus on quality improvement of the teaching-learning process.  Accreditation has, therefore, been made mandatory for all the projects like Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). The AICTE has also made it mandatory for granting fresh courses and for increasing student intake.  Accreditation is granted for a period of five years in each cycle. The accreditation process requires visits and interactions with students and faculty. The process is embedded in the regulations of UGC and AICTE. The process of getting private players for accreditation in engineering education is more complicated, as India is a signatory to the Washington Accord, that lays down the standards and also authorises only one agency in the country for accreditation. –  Courtesy

MBCET, Mar Baselios College of Engineering And Technology has accorded with NBA Accreditation

MBCET UG Courses receive NBA Accreditation  |   All the Five UG programmes of MBCET are accredited by NBA, New Delhi under TIER-II Category w.e.f. July 2016 !

Accreditation is the formal recognition of an educational institution or a degree program by an external independent authorized  agency, based on well-defined and documented criteria and standards.

The National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is an autonomous body established by All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi for periodic evaluation of programmes offered by various technical institutions across our country. At present, as per Washington Accord, NBA has a two-tier system of accreditation for under graduate engineering programmes, namely TIER-I and TIER-II format.

The Tier–I format is applicable to the engineering and technology programmes offered by Academically Autonomous Institutions, University Departments and Constituent Colleges of the Universities. Tier-II format is applicable for the non-autonomous institutions which are affiliated to a university. In the TIER-I format of accreditation, more focus is on the criteria which are based on outcome based education. The Washington Accord is an International Agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting undergraduate engineering degree programs from various countries. The programmes accredited by these member bodies symbolises the substantial equivalency of programs. Also it recommends that the graduates of programs accredited by any of the signatory bodies be recognized by the other bodies,as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in the irrespective country. Thus the membership of Washington Accord is an international recognition of the quality of undergraduate engineering education offered by the member country and is an avenue to bring it into the world class category. National Board of Accreditation, India has become the permanent signatory member of the Washington Accord on 13th June 2014. The NBA accredited programmes under TIER-I format are eligible for the recognition of the programmes by other signatories of the Washington Accord. Therefore, it encourages and facilitates the mobility of engineering graduates and professionals at international level. MBCET proud to announce that all the five  following UG programmes of college are accredited by NBA, New Delhi under TIER-II Category and hence confirming quest for achieving excellence in providing Quality Technical Education.

The National Board of Accreditation (NBA) has accorded Tier II Accreditation w.e.f. July 2016 to all the B.Tech. Programmes viz. Civil Engineering (CE), Computer Science & Engineering (CSE), Electrical & Electronics Engineering (EEE), Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) and the Mechanical Engineering (ME), offered by the Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.  On the basis of the SAR (Self Assessment Report) submitted by the College in December 2014, an Expert Committee consisting of 11 Members visited the College on 29, 30 & 31 January 2016.  The Committee personally evaluated the Performance of the College with reference to the SAR and submitted its report to the Executive Council which accorded Tier II accreditation to all the Programmes offered.  MBCET has added another feather to its cap after its victory in the Kerala University Youth Festival as the Runner-up.  In fact, MBCET can legitimately be proud of being the first College among the Self-Financing Engineering Colleges to receive NBA Accreditation for all the Programmes offered by the College, in accordance with the revised criteria for Accreditation prescribed by the NBA.  /  http://mbcet.ac.in/         http://www.nbaind.org/views/Home.aspx

GMR Institute of Technology in Andhra Pradesh Gets NBA Accreditation for Six B Tech Programs under Tier -1 System

India Education Diary | Thursday, January 28, 2016 |

New Delhi: The GMR Institute of Technology (GMRIT) at Rajam, Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh has become the first institute in the state to receive accreditation from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) under tier-1 category for its six B Tech programs. Among these, three programs – Mechanical, Chemical and Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) programs– are accredited for five years, while three others – Civil, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), and Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) programs – are accredited for two years.Commenting on the achievement, Dr. C.L.V.R.S.V. Prasad, Principal, GMRIT, said: “GMRIT is the only institute in Andhra Pradesh to get accreditation for five year duration under tier-1 for three of its programs. NBA has offered 5-year accreditation to only 17 programs in the country of which, three are from GMRIT, which is indeed a unique credential of GMRIT. With the Tier-1 accreditation of these programs our graduates will be for “substantial equivalency” in several countries including USA and UK.”
In compliance with Washington accord, graduates of NBA Tier-1 accredited programs from GMRIT will be globally recognized by the other signatory countries such as Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, UK and US as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in those countries.NBA is an autonomous body that periodically evaluates technical institutions and programs according to specified norms and standards recommended by AICTE council. In India several programs offered by the institutes, such as Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Science, National Institute of Technology, deemed-to-be universities, etc.,  are eligible for accreditation under Tier-I system of NBA. As a part of accreditation process, NBA expert team visited the campus during September 4-6, 2015 and evaluated all the six departments – Chemical, Civil, CSE, ECE, EEE and Mechanical departments.GMRIT was certified A-Grade accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) of University Grant Commission (UGC) for the subsequent second time. An ISO 9001:2008 certified institute, it has achieved many prestigious accolades including, “Outstanding Engineering Institute South” award by the Vijayavani National Education Leadership Awards, “AAA+ Grade“ by Career 360 magazine, among top 100 T schools in India” by Dataquest,  “Best college in Engineering from the State of Andhra Pradesh-2015” by VIT University, Vellore among others.GMRIT was established under GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF) a Corporate Social Responsibility arm of GMR Group, to bring internationally benchmarked superior technical education to the door steps of the rural youth. – Courtesy

AICTE to Give 3-year Approval which have valid autonomous status or NBA accredited colleges

The New Indian Express | By S Mannar Mannan |  23rd January 2016 | AICTE to Give 3-year Approval for Recognised Institutions |

COIMBATORE: In a major decision, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to grant approval for a period of three years to colleges which have valid autonomous status or having at least 50 percent of their courses accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). Presently, all existing technical institutions including engineering and technology and management colleges require getting their approval renewed by the All India Council for Technical Education every year. Shifting from this over a decade old practice, the All India Council for Technical Education  has now decided to give approval for three years.

Colleges which have valid autonomous status conferred by the affiliating university, Anna University in the case of Tamil Nadu, or having at least half of their courses accredited by NBA will now be given approval for a period of three years or the academic year up to which autonomy status or NBA accreditation is valid. “These institutions will be exempted from paying processing fee for extension of approval. But they have to submit institutional information like faculty and students on AICTE portal,” said an AICTE official. Welcoming this, TD Eswaramoorthy, joint secretary of the Association of Management of Coimbatore Anna University Affiliated College said, this will reduce unnecessary tension, as majority of the engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu have sufficient building and laboratory facilities.

Apart from this, the AICTE has also decided to relax its norms pertaining land requirement. The minimum land required for engineering and technology programme is now revised as 1.5 acres in mega and metro cities like Greater Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat, 2.5 acres in urban areas and 7.5 acres in rural areas. Previously it was 2.5 acres in urban and 10 acres in rural areas. In addition to this, the AICTE has also decided to approve technical institute in urban area, even if it is on at most two contiguous pieces of land, one of them being at least 1.5 acres for accommodating academic, administrative and essential amenities and other one being separated by not more than two kms, can be utilized for sporting infrastructure, hostel, staff accommodation and related education activities of the institution. This move is expected to help those interested in starting new technical institutions in urban areas and metro cities. –  Courtesy

Engineering institutions gearing up for the NBA accreditation process will now have to undergo a prequalifier first

The Times of India | Prasad Joshi | TNN | January 12, 2016 |  Engineering colleges to go through prequalifier for accreditation.

Aurangabad: Engineering institutions gearing up for the accreditation process will now have to undergo a prequalifier first. The National Board of Accreditation (NBA), which is the central-level competent authority for accreditation of different professional programmes, has introduces the new step for undergraduate programmes of tier-II institutions, which include non-autonomous institutions affiliated to universities. Institutions will now be required to pay only 10% of the accreditation fee at first and fill in the prequalifier format online. The Engineering Evaluation and Accreditation Committee of the NBA will evaluate these details. The payment link for the remaining 90% will be opened only after the panel finds the information to be in compliance with the requirements.

In other cases, the committee will inform the institution about the shortcomings and the latter will have to apply for accreditation after rectifying the issues. Stakeholders have termed the rule change a win-win situation for the colleges and NBA. Ulhas Shinde, dean of the engineering faculty at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, told TOI on Monday the prequalifier would benefit institutions significantly as colleges with scope for development will only have to pay 10% of the fees at the start and their money will not be blocked. It will also act as an application screening process and make the task easier for the NBA, which has considerable pendency of applications, he said.  Around 21 engineering colleges are affiliated to the university. Institutions offering courses in engineering & technology, management, pharmacy, architecture, applied arts and crafts, computer applications, and hospitality and tourism management fall under the purview of the NBA. It charges around Rs 2 lakh from colleges towards accreditation fees for each programme.  The board has a two-tier system. Tier-I is for technical programmes offered by autonomous institutions and university departments, while tier-II is for non-autonomous institutions affiliated to a university. The criteria for accreditation are the same in both tiers. Last year, the state directorate of technical education had clarified that institutes coming under its ambit would have to get NBA certification, failing which their demand to increase seats in future would not be accepted. – Courtesy / Pre-Qualifier for Accreditation Visit of UG Engg. Programs under Tier II Format

National Board of Accreditation (NBA) has accredited CUSAT’s engineering programmes under its Tier-I system

The Hindu |  EDUCATION PLUS | G. Krishnakumar | Kerala |

National Board of Accreditation (NBA) has accredited five B. Tech programmes offered by the School of Engineering (SOE) at the Cochin University of Science and Technology for two years under its Tier-I system. The courses accredited include engineering programmes in Civil, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical and Electronics, Electronics and Communication and Information Technology. “It’s for the first time that an engineering institution in Kerala is getting accredited by NBA under Tier – I. Tier I programmes are housed in institutions with autonomy to review the content of curriculum and make changes as a result of recommendations from accreditation visits,” said G. Madhu, Principal of SOE. He said that the programmes offered by the Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Science, National Institute of Technology, constituent departments/colleges of Central, State and deemed-to-be universities and autonomous institutions are eligible for accreditation under Tier-I system. The colleges affiliated to a university are accredited under Tier- II system.

SOE authorities are awaiting the results of evaluation of the other two B.Tech programmes that include Mechanical and Safety and Fire Engineering. The NBA’s expert team had visited the School in the first week of December for evaluation of these two courses. Dr. Madhu said that these five programmes have become eligible for “substantial equivalency” in 15 foreign countries including the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (U.K.). NBA has been accorded permanent signatory status of Washington accord as on June 13. Recognition of programmes by other signatories applies only to programmes accredited by NBA that are offered by education providers accepted by NBA as Tier- 1 Institutions.

The Washington Accord covers undergraduate engineering degrees under outcome-based education approach.  Faculty members at SOE pointed out that it is an international accreditation agreement for professional engineering academic degrees entered in to between the bodies responsible for accreditation in its signatory countries. The agreement recognises that there is substantial equivalence of programmes accredited by the signatories. Graduates of accredited programmes in any of the signatory countries are recognised by the other signatory countries as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering. Established in 1989, the signatories, as of 2014, include Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, U.K. and the U.S. –  Courtesy