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Whither Engineering And Technological Education ! by Emeritus Professor Dayantha Wijeyesekera
Whither Engineering And Technological Education ! by Emeritus Professor Dayantha Wijeyesekera  

A New Year has dawned, new Faculties of Engineering and also Technology are afoot, however well established standards of qualty and traditions expected by Professional and Academic bodies should be protected and maintained not only for posterity but also to avoid unnecessary student crises and high costs for continuation of unplanned programmes.


Despite the caution expressed by me about 3 years ago, being perhaps the only Chartered Engineer in the Council of South Eastern University Oluvil at that time, such caution and advice was not heeded and the repurcussions are now evident with student unrest, heavy expenditure in attempting to continue the programme and above all risking academic and professional standards.


Such hasty unplanned decisions were prevalent even in the Medical education some years ago with similar repurcussions and the recovery to acceptable levels are being just reached. Hence, Technocrats should engineer the decision- making process to safe guard the profession. Of course I am getting quite used to watching my predictions coming true on unplanned Technical and Vocational education and on some engineering projects mainly on Traffic Engineering !


Sri Lanka can be proud of the development of Engineering and Technological education dating as far back as from 1893 at the Maradana Technical College. The BSc (Eng) external degree of the University of London was the forerunner to the BSc Eng degree (Ceylon) which commenced at the University of Colombo, thereafter shifted to University of Peradeniya. The Universities of Moratuwa and Ruhuna commenced their degree programmes in Engineering laterand now the Engineering Faculties of these three Conventional Universities conduct the BSc(Eng) degree programmes acceptable to the Professional bodies of Engineering. Since of late the South Eastern University has commenced the BSc (Eng) degree programme. In addition to the above the Open University of Sri Lanka through Open and Distance Learning conducts the BTech (Eng) degree programme which is also acceptable to the Professional body, together with the University of Uva Wellasa conducting a BTech degree programme.


The University of Vocational Technology has also admitted five batches of students for the BTech degree programme for those who proceeded though the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) system based on competency based training and assessment and also through lateral entry and upward mobility for those with mid-level technological qualifications. The University also provides an avenue to obtain Bachelor of Education in Technology, BEd (Tech) for those who wish to pursue a career in Technical Teaching from Senior Secondary school level right through to the Technical and Vocational Education upto degree level.

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