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Engineering Education In West African Countries: How Does It Compare With The Et Education In Usa?

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.235.1 - 4.235.5

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Paper Authors

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Stephen Fokuo

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Sohail Anwar

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2460

Engineering Technology Education in West African Countries: How Does it Compare With the ET Education in USA?

Stephen Fokuo, Sohail Anwar The Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College


Until the late 1950’s, engineering/engineering technology education in West Africa was shaped after the trade policies of the colonial powers ruling the region at that time. During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, most of the West African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal and the Gambia gained independence or self-rule and began to restructure engineering education. Most of these countries initially continued following the public education and training policies formulated by the old colonial regime. However, the demands imposed by the globalization of trade and commerce forced them to redesign their education and training strategies to effectively meet their economic development needs.

In the past, the engineering education in the West African countries was based on the needs of their agricultural sectors. Moreover, on one end of the occupational spectrum there was theory based engineering education and on the other end there was craftsmanship based vocational education. There was nothing in between. Engineering technology education was unknown or completely neglected. It was not until the 1990’s when the importance of engineering technology education was recognized.

This paper begins with a description of the characteristics of engineering technology education in the United States. Then, the paper describes the evolution of engineering/engineering technology education in West African Countries. The engineering technology education trends in these countries are compared with those in the United States. Also, recommendations are made as to how US universities and colleges through technology transfer and distance education can work out international partnerships with educational institutions in West African Countries.

Engineering Technology Education in the United States

In the United States, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) specifies that engineering technology “…. lies in the occupational spectrum between the engineer and the craftsman at the end of the spectrum closest to the engineer.” Engineering technology involves an understanding of technical skills as well as the various elements of mathematics, science and engineering. For over forty years, the engineering technology education in the United States has attempted to fill a void in the technical spectrum between skilled craftsman and engineer by providing application-based preparation for graduates who would use existing technology to solve problems in the areas of manufacturing, production, testing, construction, and applications engineering. Engineering technology programs at the educational institutions in the United States

Fokuo, S., & Anwar, S. (1999, June), Engineering Education In West African Countries: How Does It Compare With The Et Education In Usa? Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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