ADVANCEMENT OF ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN AFRICA: AEEA PERSPECTIVE
Funso Falade PhD
President, African Engineering Education Association (AEEA) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Lagos
Engineering education is the training of engineers who are supposed to be the initiators, facilitators and implementers of the technological development of a nation. It focuses on the methodology of teaching and the learning process, assesses the effectiveness of teaching techniques; it evaluates the appropriateness of curricula of engineering programmes, infrastructure and accreditation systems, as well as industry inputs in the training of engineers. Engineering education concerns two principal facets of education namely, teachers and the students, that is, the instructors and the future practioneers of engineering. It entails the development of programmes that will enhance the competence of the teachers and improve their skills while the students are better equipped with knowledge.
In Africa, the training of engineers has witnessed some challenges ranging from poor funding to inadequate facilities both quantitatively and qualitatively at the training institutions, inadequate and obsolete equipment, non-availability of adequate human capacity, adoption of traditional pedagogy, brain drain and poor staff training and retention profiles. Others include weak university/industry partnership, defective curricula, poor industrial attachment program, non-availability of local codes and monitoring standards for the training of prospective engineers and an inadequate ICT environment as well as weak linkages with international engineering community.
The African Engineering Education Association (AEEA) was established in 2006 in Pretoria, South Africa at the end of the 3rd African Regional Conference on Engineering Education (ARCEE 2006). The main objectives of AEEA are to (i) promote quality engineering education in Africa and (ii) organize a biennial forum for all the engineering stakeholders with an aim of identifying and proffering solutions to the problems within the compass of engineering education in the region. The Association aims at addressing all the issues of inadequacies in engineering education in Africa and fosters good relationship with both regional and international engineering organizations.
The activities of AEEA to date include:
- Organisation of African Regional Conference on Engineering Education:
- 1st and 2nd in 2002 and 2004 respectively at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, (b) 3rd ARCEE 2006 at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, (c) 4th ARCEE 2008 at the University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania and (d) 5th ARCEE 2013 at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
- In 2008, AEEA co-hosted the 7th American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Global Colloquium on Engineering Education and 2nd Summit of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
- China – AEEA Capacity Building Workshop for 21 AEEA members from the five (5) African Sub-regions was held at the Tsinghua University in 2009.
- AEEA in collaboration with the University of Lagos, Nigeria mounted a 3-Day Workshop on Capacity Building for Engineering and Technology Educators at the University of Lagos in 2015.
- Inauguration of the African Engineering Deans’ Council took place during the 5th African Regional Conference on Engineering Education (ARCEE 2013) in Nigeria, in order to provide additional continental platform for engineering deans to network and take advantage of the collective strength to advance engineering education and research as well as sensitize stakeholders on the importance of engineering education to economic growth and industrial development globally in general and Africa in particular.
AEEA intends to achieve the following activities in 2016
- (i) Capacity Building Workshops in East and Central Africa.
- (ii) 6th AEEA International Conference at the Central University of Technology, Bloemfontein, South Africa.
- (iii) Production of Maiden Edition of African Journal of Engineering Education in two languages (English and French).
MEMBERSHIP OF /PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS
The African Engineering Education Association is a member of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES), a partner to:
- Global Educational Supply and Solution (GESS).
- Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IEOM Society).
- Korea Society for Engineering Education (KSEE).
- Centre for Engineering Education, Tsinghua University (CTCEE).