Time to take responsibility for the standard of our graduates

4 Mar 2010

Irish industry has a role to play in ensuring that the highest standards of education are safeguarded across various professions, the director general of Engineers Ireland John Power has warned.

Power was speaking in the wake of the Department of Education and Science’s preliminary findings, revealed today in the Dáil, which suggest significant grade inflation in higher education.

“While these findings are concerning, I welcome the Minister for Education and Science’s commitment to address this issue and to ensure the highest education standards are maintained. However, this commitment should be supported across Irish industry also.

“The engineering profession in Ireland is doing its utmost to ensure that the standard of engineering graduates keeps up with international standards. From 2013, an accredited Master Degree (Level 9) will be required to become a chartered engineer.

“The smart economy needs Ireland’s engineers to become more innovative and research intensive. By moving to Master Degree level, or equivalent, Irish engineers will attain an increased capability to research and innovate, enhancing career opportunities and enabling Ireland to become more competitive.”

Recognising Irish engineering qualifications

Power said this development will ensure continued international recognition of Irish engineering qualifications, which will be at least on a par with European and international professional engineering qualifications.

The move also facilitates greater mobility for engineering graduates at both industry and education levels. In making this change, Engineers Ireland is continuing its statutory role to protect the quality and standards of professional engineering in Ireland.

Engineers Ireland is also actively driving the case for regulation of the profession to embrace the highest quality of engineering standards across all engineering disciplines that have a health and safety, environmental, cost or consumer protection implication.

“The quality of engineering programmes in Irish universities and institutes of technology has been hugely instrumental in attracting international investment in the Irish economy over the past 40 years. Engineers Ireland has played a significant role in ensuring this high quality through its accreditation of engineering programmes in all third-level colleges,” Power added.

By John Kennedy

Photo: John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years