June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1214.1 - 12.1214.5
Quality engineering education for the Arab states region
Reform in engineering education is needed in all parts of the world, as universities prepare graduates to enter the profession of engineering which has been transformed by massive technological developments and by globalization of all aspects of concern to engineers. Engineering educators in the Arab states region face particular challenges in addition to those facing similar educators in other parts of the world: tailoring programs to fill the needs of countries that are undergoing rapid modernization, providing access to their education programs for segments of their societies that may not have had it in the past, offering programs which are relevant to the particular needs of women in their countries, and developing local or regional quality assurance mechanisms which have positive impact on their educational program.
It would be simple to present a paper exhorting engineering educators to carry forward with the mandate of adopting world class standards of engineering education in the Arab region, but is there anyone left who does not believe that this is what needs to be done?
Rather than belabor the obvious, let us look at the world in the Gulf and beyond in the other Arab states. In particular, we will examine both the pace and the scope of change which is coming about in this region, and think about how to reconcile the global quality mandate with the circumstances in the societies in which Arab engineers work. What we see is a call for engineering educators to think in accordance with global technical standards and to devise ways to apply them creatively to the fast changing local scene. It is in the space between global technical standards and local realities that engineering educators in the Arab world need to fashion their own quality assurance efforts.
The dynamics of change in the Arab world are startling. Change is taking place in areas which just a few years ago were seen as intractable. Elections are being held where they never were before. Women are making new inroads into the power structures of their countries. The western world is suddenly scrambling to understand the region it so long neglected. Arab-Israeli relations show some new dimensions. Underclass workers are daring to assert their rights. The media are becoming more insistent in their calls for greater freedom from government controls. No one who lives in the Arab world can miss noticing that change is in the air. Not the least of these changes is the growing conviction that the Arab world must rebuild its intellectual, social, scientific and technical capacities, which have been in decline for so long.
There are four areas where change is taking place where engineering educators would do well, in our opinion, to give some serious thought to changing their ways. They have to do with national employment policies, access to higher education, the role of women, and quality assurance mandates. Each of these is undergoing substantial change and offers
Jones, B., & Jones, R. (2007, June), Quality Engineering Education For The Arab States Region Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1769
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