The Future of engineering in schools

It is an important annual event for anyone interest in engineering and education when the London based Institution of Mechanical Engineers announces the results of their most recent piece of research which this year addressed the future of engineering in schools in the UK. A quick bit of my own research confirmed that Peter Finegold, head of Education and Skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, would be presenting and discussing this year's report at a Teachers' Twilight session at the Cheltenham Science Festivals, a great opportunity to meet the man himself and discuss more specific elements of the findings. You can download a free copy of the complete report via their website www.imeche.org

The report is calling for a complete rethink of how schools and colleges are thinking about promoting engineering and questions the current narrowing of the curriculum as pupils progress through the various key stages of education. (remember my comments on D&T in a previous post ...)

Science Days and Festivals are becoming more regular events around villages and towns in the UK

Science Days and Festivals are becoming more regular events around villages and towns in the UK

The 10 long term goals suggested by 'Big ideas' according to their website are: Promote engineering as a people-focused, problem-solving, socially beneficial discipline.
Work to enhance the presence of engineering and the ‘made world’ at all stages from primary level upwards.
Ensure that apprenticeships and other technical pathways not only deliver high quality technicians but also enable individuals to progress to the highest levels of engineering.
Broaden routes into engineering degree courses by promoting more flexible entry requirements.
Maintain a broad curriculum for all young people up to the age of 18.
Shift the emphasis in STEM teaching towards problem-based, contextualised learning.
Nurture engineering ways of thinking in all young people.
Create more spaces and opportunities for young people to design and make things particularly by working collaboratively in interdisciplinary groups.
Use Design and Technology as a platform for integrating STEM and creative design and for raising the profile of engineering in schools.
Change the structure of schools' education to embed engineering explicitly at all levels.

An original mid 1920s Bugatti gearbox on display at a local Science Day for children to explore gears in action

An original mid 1920s Bugatti gearbox on display at a local Science Day for children to explore gears in action

Reading the report I tried not to be biased as I have children who would have perhaps chosen different educational paths if the official curriculum was adapted to address the shortfall of engineers in the UK. A report published back in February by Engineering UK (full report can be downloaded at www.engineeringuk.com/Research/Engineering-UK-Report-2016/ ) summarised the facts in a very neat graphic (see below).

EngineeringUK-Report-2016-Infographic.pdf

EngineeringUK-Report-2016-Infographic.pdf

So... would you encourage your children to study engineering? Or are they studying engineering already and you know what made them connect with the subject? Or are they at primary school and can't wait to come home and spend time taking engines apart or building mechanical masterpieces with you ? Part 2 of this blog post will look at some of my personal thoughts on the 'Big Ideas' and I would love to hear what your thoughts on this are too. Have a fantastic weekend :-)

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Comments (10)

  • i do not think the problem in education is because of the educational system , and not just a problem in the UK , but world wide ,, the problem is that people think the world is run today from behind a laptop , and that the money is made behind a screen instead of in the real world , next to that payment for the work delivered is behind a screen way more than jobs with technical propper knowhow, when is the last time you heard a mechanic say that he made loads of money ,,,,, you haven't because it pays crap , but take as an example a mechanic , he is responsible for the car of the prime minister , and what if the mechaninc doesn't do his job propperly ,, than the prime minister could die in a car accident , due to technical mal practice , so who has a bigger responsibility ? or someone who repairs the heating boiler in your house ?? in summer you could not care less , but in winter you would want to pay him a fortune to come out and repair it ,, this is the problem , ,,,, because kids these days do not want to get a job that does not pay a propper wage , ,, would you take a job that makes so little that you need an extra job to make ends meet ,, i know this because i am a mechanic , ( panelbeater for classic cars , designer for classic cars , restorer and airbrush artist ) why did i choose this profession ??? because i love the hands on experiance , creating things from nothing , but these skills are dying out , and yes i am struggeling to make ends meet ,,, and that is the real reason because kids see their dads come home from a hard days work ( as a mechanic ) with dirty hands , and an empty pocket at the end of the week ,

      3 years ago
  • Thanks for bumps! New blog nearly ready, am waiting for a few quotes to arrive then ready to go ;-)!

      3 years ago
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