COMPETENCES FOR SENSITIVE ENGINEERS: THE ENVIRONMENTAL FACTOR
Polytechnic University of Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 3rd International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 9-11 March, 2009
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Updating skills and competences of postgraduates is one of the aspects to be considered in the development of the Bologna Declaration specially if we take into account that Higher Education quality improvement is one of the goals that this Declaration chases at the horizon of 2010.
First, we must consider that technical subjects in future Engineers’ education must take priority over any other subject. This is the reason why Engineering Schools design their careers with the purpose of training professionals in their corresponding Engineering branches. Nevertheless, it is also important to realize that there are other transversal educational areas, such as ethics, social and environmental subjects, that are also important in Engineering Education. In fact, the importance of these matters is increasing by the year.
Population growth in the World has a non-stop tendency in the last decades. (Human population has increased from 3.000 million inhabitants up to 6.000 million in only 50 years!). Technical advances, innovations, industrial diversification and human activities’ expansion all over the world have generated several important anthropogenic environmental impacts. In this sense, Engineering Higher Education must collaborate in solving these problems and one of the possible solutions is the improvement of the students’ education by adding new competences to the traditional ones in Engineering Careers.
In this way, the Polytechnic University of Valencia offers to the students several new subjects with environmental contents. These subjects have been developed with the aim to complete the future Engineer’s formation by bringing to the students a higher environmental sensitivity as well as the necessary tools and knowledge to make appropriate environmental impact assessments. We consider that these skills are necessary to make them good professionals and to adequate their education to the social and environmental reality not only in their work fields but all around the world.
In this study, we present the advances we are making in the field of strengthening new additional competences to complement the technical ones. We also describe the advances in environmental sensitization and consideration of natural environment impacts of human actions. All these things are carried out by means of paying attention at studying and improving some of the subjects that we give, such as ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS and SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS. Likewise, we describe how we try to complete the technical training of our students by updating and remodelling goals and contents of these subjects as well as their planning and activities. The environmental, ethical and social education we propose is still optional but we are convinced that it will be fundamental in a nearby future.
In the end, the competences acquired by the students in these subjects make them take an advantage position when looking for a job, specially comparing with their mates that do not have them. It is due to the fact that the students finish their careers with additional competences and skills that are becoming more and more demanded by trademarks in their personnel recruitment programs.
Keywords: higher education, bologna, competences, engineering, environment.