n African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development - Student’s perception of engineering design for competitiveness in Africa : the case of Tanzania, East Africa - research

Volume 11 Number 3
  • ISSN : 2042-1338
  • E-ISSN: 2042-1346
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Engineering is vital for addressing basic human needs, improving the quality of life and creating opportunities for sustainable prosperity at local, regional, national and global levels. However, Africa faces a shortage of engineers arising from the declining interest and enrolment of young people in the relevant disciplines at higher education institutions. Africa is also flooded with numerous products from the five major emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, creating challenges for local engineering solutions. In this sense, engineering design capacity practice needs to be reviewed for the purpose of creating the potential for the application of local competitive engineering capacity for growth. This suggests a need for the upgrading and integration of local engineering design capacity into the mainstream, beginning with the education system. Empirical evidence from Tanzania lends support to this proposition. Primary data from undergraduate students suggest a strong focus on curricular review of engineering design capacity. Secondary data from the engineering design functions practised by industries and engineering-based R&D institutions indicates the existence of a skills mismatch which needs to be addressed. This holds important policy implications; in particular, the tertiary education curriculum ought to be sensitive to local needs and knowledge.

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