June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Engineering and Public Policy
24.666.1 - 24.666.25
The opportunity for technical colleges in England to undertake a radical change in thecurriculum came when in the nineteen-fifties a sect group of these institutions (Colleges ofAdvanced Technology) had their status raised to offer a degree equivalent diploma for theeducation and training of engineers and technologists for industry. While there were differencesbetween the programmes offered and university courses they were not radical and mirrored thecourses from which they were supposed to differ.The reasons for this lost opportunity lie deep in the culture that formed the values and beliefs ofeducational policy makers during the industrial revolution. A divorce emerged between theacademic and the practical in which training for industry was not considered to be something thatuniversities do. By the end of the nineteenth century a technical education sector had developedin spite of very poor support from industrialists. Some students in Polytechnics were able topursue studies for degrees of the University of London.The policy makers who suggested the framework (The Percy Committee) came from theeducational élite that valued the pure as opposed to the practical. They were focused on the needto increase the qualified workforce and paid no attention to the structure of the sub-system theywere proposing. Thus universities would train the research and development workers of the futureand the technical colleges the engineer managers to degree level. They should be awarded adiploma but it would have degree status. A counter culture developed in the colleges as the staffsought the status of universities for their institutions. It is by no means clear that they would havebeen able to develop a radical alternative since there was little in the way of a substantialphilosophy or educational theory to guide thinking in a radically new direction.The paper is presented in the form of a historical narrative. The principal threads (culture, socialclass, status, sub-system and available knowledge) are brought together in a final section that alsoconsiders implications for the present. The paragraphs have been numbered for the convenienceof cross referencing to this final section.
Heywood, J. (2014, June), Higher Technological Education and British Policy Making: A Lost Opportunity for Curriculum Change in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/20557
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