Postgraduate Engineering Education in the Arab World: What is Really Needed? Muhammad Taher Abuema’atti King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
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Postgraduate Engineering Education in the Arab World: What is Really Needed? Muhammad Taher Abuema’atti King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals Dhahran Saudi Arabia
Continuing Education Engineers need continuing education both for technical reasons and 2. non-technical reasons
Technical Reasons 1.Specialist engineers to keep pace with latest developments. 2.Practicing engineers to get awareness of how a closely related topic to has progressed. 3.Engineers who need to change their area of activity. 4.Engineers who aspire to managerial positions. 5.Graduates from pure science who may wish to train in a branch of engineering.
Non-technical reasons 1.Social prestige accorded to engineers with higher academic degrees. 2.Relative non-expansion of local industry makes salaries proportional to degrees not to production.
Objectives of Graduate Engineering Education 1.Development of specialist knowledge of national relevance. 2.Strengthening the ability of innovation, adaptation and optimization of engineers. 3.Training in research methodology and real-life problem solving. 4.Development of strong interaction with local industry.
Development of Graduate Programs in Arab Countries 1.Not grown out of local needs. Mostly followed models available in advanced and industrialized countries. 2.Highly qualified engineers who do not fit into the local industries. 3.Local industrial sector not research-oriented. Research have very little relevance to local problems. The result is producing more graduates than we need or teaching more knowledge than we require.
The Solution 1.Make graduate education more locally relevant. 2.Link graduate courses with industrial needs as much as possible. 3.The need for graduate education must come from within and should not be planned in isolation. 4.Have close links with industrialized countries but choice of special areas of training must be made based on local problems and resources.
Proposed Master of Engineering Program * The aim of this program is to provide practicing engineers with the necessary information and skills to tackle problems of multidisciplinary nature. * It is opened to students with B.Sc. in any branch of Science or Engineering with good standing on an entrance examination.
Program Structure It is a two years program. 1. The first year courses are: Mathematics, Computer Software, Computer Hardware, Electrical Basics, Mechanical Basics, Manufacturing, Humanities (two courses). 2. The second year courses are electives to be picked from groups parallel to that of the first year courses. 3. The courses in the first year and the electives of the second year must be selected to fit the direct needs of local industries. No thesis is required. Interdisciplinary graduation/course projects supported by local industries are highly encouraged.
Advantages of the proposed program 1. It does not stress narrow research activities as it is not discipline oriented 2. It trains students for the sort of interdisciplinary problems they may face in industry. 3. The program can accommodate students with wide variety of backgrounds. 4. The program is flexible in the second year to accommodate students who want to pursue a particular area in depth.
Proposed Master of Technology Program * The aim of the program is to provide advanced engineering technology education to practicing engineers so that they become leaders in specialized fields of engineering technology. * This program can be implemented on or away from campus if the number of candidates from a specific firm is encouraging.
Main Features of the Program 1.It is a three years part-time program. 2.It would increase the knowledge of local engineers in computing and management techniques and/or areas of special interest to a particular industry without loosing working hours or earning powers. 3. It would equip engineers with necessary tools for research and developmental functions in educational, research institutions and in industry.
Program Structure 1.The program consists of two parts. Part I comprises twelve courses, of which four courses are core courses, selected based on the specific needs of a particular industry. This part must be completed in two years. 2.The second part is to be completed in the third year and is devoted to research in an approved topic in engineering.
Advantages of the program 1.Faculty would be able to participate in joint research programs with industry. 2.Students would carry out research on their companies projects under joint supervision of a faculty and a consultant from their place of work. 3. Upgrade the knowledge of employees and hence improving their companies productivity. Participating companies can share university resources. Some of the projects can be further developed into Engineering Doctorate Programs.
Proposed Engineering Doctorate Program 1.Academically this degree is equivalent to the Ph.D. 2.Graduates have sound undertaking of the business implications of academic and industrial research.
Program Structure 1.This is a four year industrially-focused research and training program 2.Students must complete a doctoral thesis based on industrial research. 3.Students must achieve satisfactory assessments in taught technical and business modules. 4.Each project requires an industrial sponsor and an academic supervisor. 5.The student spends an appropriate amount of time, typically one year, on taught technical courses at the university and 50% of the remaining three years at the sponsor’s premises.
Advantages of the Program 1.Provides more vocationally oriented doctorate. 2.Provides graduates with challenging research investigations conducted in an industrial context. 3.Produces exploitable outcome from research requiring the student to make commercially- aware judgments not normally expected in conventional Ph.D. programs.