THE FAILURE OF ENGINEERING EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS: THE UK EXPERIENCE
Present British engineering educational system is rigid, inflexible and does not prepare engineers well enough to attain promotions and career development within organisations. The failure of manufacturing industry in the UK in not sustaining its strength to compete in world markets has been linked to a variety of factors including the weak role of academic institutions in not providing skills which could have enabled industrialists to compete more positively.
Educational system in Britain:
In Britain, for example, engineering educational institutions have been blamed for their rigidity and steady-state approach towards evolution and changes in the industrial world.
Educational system in U.K.:
- Educational systems in the UK have tended to place more focus on the production of specialists in the areas of mechanical engineering, production engineering, chemical engineering, control engineering, electrical engineering, electronic engineering and aeronautical engineering.
- The ‘A’ level curriculum in the UK has been described as a limited pool, offering narrow options to graduates (three subjects) in comparison to seven subjects in other European programmes. In terms of the quantity of graduates in engineering in comparison to pure scientists Table shows that Britain is lagging behind when compared with Japan.
Goals of Engineering Education Project:
- The ‘Goals of Engineering Education Project’ (GEEP) was commissioned by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) and the Department of Education and Science and carried out by the School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Leicester Polytechnic. GEEP conducted in-depth interviews with 250 mechanical, electrical and electronics graduates in 55 public and private organisations.
- The project also conducted interviews with 200 people with or for whom engineers worked.
- The report concluded that the present British engineering educational system is rigid, inflexible and does not prepare engineers well enough to attain promotions and career development within organisations. The report goes on to say that:
'It is no surprise then to observe that the profession appears fragmented and that engineers appear to lack the will to do anything about these themselves. Though formally described as a professional, these findings suggest that the engineer is usually treated more like a technician, a hired hand, who performs o technical task without comment, and without expecting to or being expected to comment."