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Green Chemistry For Chemical Engineers In The Third World: Interplay Among The Environment, The Digital Divide, And Democratisation

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Global Engineering in an Interconected World

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.596.1 - 7.596.9



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Paper Authors

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S. Ratnajeevan Hoole

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Dushyanthi Hoole

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Session 2002-2360

Green Chemistry for Chemical Engineers in the Third World: Interplay between the Environment, the Digital Divide and Democratisation

Dushyanthi Hoole and S.R.H. Hoole Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


In developing countries, engineering education can be as effective as it is in the First World, but striking differences can be identified. In the Third World, it is elitist, highly selective, male dominated, comparatively expensive and gives relatively little cognizance to environmental standards. The challenge for educators, particularly engineering educators, in overcoming and addressing these problems, necessitates the introduction of cheaper ways of delivering education and attracting disfranchised groups to academic programs.

This paper describes attempts by the authors to address the problem through distance education, home-practical kits with green methods, the Internet and special efforts directed at women.

Elitist Education

Education in the West is far more democratic and inclusive than in the rest of the World. This is recognized in Table 1 which gives the enrolment in higher education, as given by UNESCO in its World Education Report 1, for the critical 18-22 age group for a sampling of countries. The table shows the disparities and improvements from 1985 to 1995. The World Bank’s education experts believe that for a country to have some chance of reaching Newly Industrialized Country status, the percentage from this critical age group enrolled in tertiary education ought to be at least 8%.

While shortcomings still exist in the areas of women and other minorities, good progress has been made through special programs in the past two decades. In Sri Lanka we now have 46% and 47% enrolment of females in programs leading to first degrees and postgraduate degrees, respectively. However, Sri Lanka is yet to address the problems of diminished female enrolment in the professions and the hard sciences 2.

Although the proportion of female participation is broadly satisfactory (at least in Sri Lanka as indicated in relation to that of males), the larger problem of very low male and female participation in and access to higher education as a percentage of the total population is a critical problem to be addressed if those countries aspiring to Newly Industrialized Country status are to

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Hoole, S. R., & Hoole, D. (2002, June), Green Chemistry For Chemical Engineers In The Third World: Interplay Among The Environment, The Digital Divide, And Democratisation Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10888

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