China Leads in Producing Post Graduate Engineers

Posted on March 18, 2007  Comments (0)

Highly recommended for those interested in the macro view of engineering education in the USA, India and China. Where the Engineers Are is an excellent article building off the work mentioned in previous posts including: Worldwide Science and Engineering Doctoral Degree Data, USA Under Counting Engineering Graduates and House Testimony on Engineering Education. The data they have collected and interpreted shows that China has moved ahead of the USA in doctoral degrees in engineering and India has not been growing there doctoral graduate counts.

In the United States, close to 60% of engineering PhD degrees awarded annually are currently earned by foreign nationals, according to data from the American Society for Engineering Education. Indian and Chinese students are the dominant foreign student groups. Data for 2005 that we obtained from the Chinese government show that 30% of all Chinese students studying abroad returned home after their education, and various sources report that this number is steadily increasing. Our interviews with business executives in India and China confirmed this trend.

The bottom line is that China is racing ahead of the United States and India in its production of engineering and technology PhD’s and in its ability to perform basic research. India is in particularly bad shape, as it does not appear to be producing the numbers of PhD’s needed even to staff its growing universities.

Related: China Outpacing Rivals in Producing Graduate-Level Engineers, Study FindsEngineering the Future EconomyThe World’s Best Research UniversitiesEngineering Education: Can India overtake China?Chinese Engineering Innovation Plan

Conclusion the authors reach:

The nation cannot continue to depend on India and China to supply such graduates. As their economies improve, it will be increasingly lucrative for students to return home.

I agree that most likely the USA cannot continue to count on drawing foreign talent, as I have mentioned previous I even believe the flow will go in the opposite direction as others create world class research hubs.

It is clear that skilled immigrants bring a lot to the United States: They contribute to the economy, create jobs, and lead innovation. H1B’s are temporary visas and come with many restrictions. If the nation truly needs workers with special skills, it should make them welcome by providing them with permanent resident status. Temporary workers cannot start businesses, and the nation currently is not giving them the opportunity to integrate into society and help the United States compete globally. We must also make it easier for foreign students to stay after they graduate.

A wise move for the economic well being of any country that can attract skilled entrepreneurs.

Finally, the United States does need to increase-significantly-its investment in research. The nation needs Sputnik-like programs to solve a variety of critical problems: developing alternative fuels, reducing global warming, eliminating hunger, and treating and preventing disease. Engineers, scientists, mathematicians, and their associated colleagues have vital roles to play in such efforts. The nation-government, business, education, and society-needs to develop the road maps, create the excitement, and make it really cool and rewarding to become a scientist or engineer.

Decent idea though not in the form of huge government spending. I don’t believe the government should lead such efforts or fund them directly (in general) especially given the enormous deficits politicians have accumulated (having spent money that must be raised from children and grandchildren of those the money was spent on – they have limited their options to invest – they don’t have the funds available). Still I agree with that spirit and I think there are things that can be done. My focus would be more on creating the right climate: Engineering Education and Economic Growth also see other posts we have made in the economic category.

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