House Testimony on Engineering Education

Posted on May 24, 2006  Comments (3)

Testimony of Vivek Wadhwa to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce,
May 16, 2006.

Vivek Wadhwa has continued the work published in the Duke study: Framing the Engineering Outsourcing Debate. In the testimony he provides an update on the data provided in the report.

Contrary to the popular view that India and China have an abundance of engineers, recent studies show that both countries may actually face severe shortages of dynamic engineers. The vast majority of graduates from these counties have the qualities of transactional engineers.

Differentiating between dynamic and transactional engineers is a start, but we also need to look at specific fields of engineering where the U.S can maintain a distinct advantage. Professor Myers lists specializations such as systems biology and personalized medicine, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics that he believes will give the U.S a long term advantage.

Our education system gives our students broad exposure to many different fields of study. Our engineers learn biology and art, they gain significant practical experience and learn to innovate and become entrepreneurs. Few Indian and Chinese universities provide such advantages to their students.

The dynamic and transactional differences were mentioned in his business week article: Filling the Engineering Gap.

The conclusion he presents seems wise to me.

The numbers that are at the center of the debate on US engineering competitiveness are not accurate. The US may need to graduate more of certain types of engineers, but we have not determined what we need. By simply reacting to the numbers, we may actually reduce our competitiveness. Let’s better understand the problem before we debate the remedy.

3 Responses to “House Testimony on Engineering Education”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Blog Archive » Engineering Education: Can India overtake China?
    June 14th, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

    […] House Testimony on Engineering Education […]

  2. The Importance of Science Education on the Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    October 28th, 2007 @ 9:27 pm

    At the macro-economic level investing heavily to create science and engineering centers of excellence is very wise (the USA, Europe, China, India, Japan… are going to benefit based on how well they do that). Creating the right economic climate is also important and the USA is in the strongest position in this area…

  3. CuriousCat: Science and Engineering in Politics
    December 3rd, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

    so few politicians in the USA have even a basic understanding of science and the scientific method. And a very small percentage have any advanced degrees in science and engineering fields or work experience in them…

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