Engineering Education in Britain and Japan: Some Reflections on the Use of the ‘Best Practice’ Models in International Comparison

TitleEngineering Education in Britain and Japan: Some Reflections on the Use of the ‘Best Practice’ Models in International Comparison
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsMcCormick, K.
Secondary TitleSociology
Abstract

International comparisons of engineering graduate numbers are frequently used as indices of industrial development and measures of the responsiveness of the educational system to industrial requirements. Such comparisons make implicit assumptions about quality by assuming that like institutions or like qualifications are being compared. In this paper the concept of ‘best practice’ engineering education is derived from engineering manpower reports of German engineering education in order to address issues of both quantity and quality in comparing engineering education in Britain and Japan. Japan is found to have associated engineering education with relatively more prestigious institutions and to have attracted a higher proportion of more able male pupils to broad based engineering education compared to Britain. Yet there are some interesting differences between the model of ‘best practice’ engineering education based on Germany and Japanese practice, particularly in curricula, which underline the importance of the division of labour between education and employment in the education and training of engineers. Examining the responsiveness of educational systems through propositions derived from a model of ‘best practice’ rather than through simple output statistics underlines the importance of different patterns of institutional development, the role of the state, educational and occupational selection, and status within the curriculum for understanding the variety of contemporary engineering education.

URLhttp://soc.sagepub.com/content/22/4/583.abstract