Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Roles of Professional Engineers at the Institutions of Higher Learning in Nation-Building

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Roles of Professional Engineers at the Institutions of Higher Learning in Nation-Building

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper discusses the roles of professional engineers (PEs) who are attached to the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) and how their contributions are as important as their counterparts in the industry. This paper highlights the roles for PEs at IHLs based on a survey conducted at selected IHLs in Malaysia. Academician-professional engineers have crucial responsibilities to develop graduates who later promote safer and cutting-edge engineering solutions. These new technologies will make Malaysia an environmentally healthier place and further prepare Malaysia towards a developed nation at the end of the decade. From the survey, we conclude that PEs at IHLs make use of their professional qualifications to enhance their knowledge therefore provide better work quality. We also found that lecturers with these qualifications have higher confidence in their own ability to success in their careers and to face and help the public.

Keywords: professional engineers, institutions of higher learning, economic transformation programme

1. Introduction

Malaysia has less than a decade to achieve a developed nation status by the year 2020 set in the Wawasan 2020. Wawasan 2020 or the Vision 2020 was introduced by the then Prime Minister of Malaysia Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in the tabling of Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1991. The vision aims for economically self-sufficient nation encompassing all aspects of lives from economic prosperity, social well-being, high education standard, stability and psychological balance. Dr. Mahathir, as he is normally called, has envisaged that the economy would have to grow at an average annual growth of 7% to expand from RM119 billions of gross domestic product (GDP) in 1990 to RM920 billions in 2020 (Mohammad, 1990). 22 years down the road (in 2012), the nation GDP stood at approximately RM850 billions, estimated by the World Bank, United Nations and by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The growth data provided by these organizations have shown that the growth has an exponential trend. Even by a linear extrapolation of these data, one would predict Malaysia would achieve the GDP envisaged by Dr. Mahathir. These projections however did not account for high inflationary effects which have become significant especially in the last decade. Furthermore, the GDP per capita is a more relevant measurement for wealth or level of prosperity.

The current Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak has strengthened this objective by launching the economic transformation programme (ETP). Under this programme, a different income concept calculation has been used i.e. the gross national income (GNI). The GNI per capita is set to achieve RM48000 in 2020 from RM23700 in 2009. This would not be achieved unless annual economic growths for these coming years exceed 6%, something that Malaysia has not achieved since 2009. Can this plan succeed to propel Malaysia into the elite group of developed countries? This question subjects to debates, just like the criteria used for a developed country measurements. (Other criteria for a developed country are: level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living.) The more important question should be: what are the contributions from each citizen to support this plan?

Under the ETP, the government has identified twelve national key economic areas (NKEAs) as the core economic activities for the ETP. An NKEA is defined as a 'driver that has the potential to directly and materially contribute a quantifiable amount of economic growth to the nation'. These NKEAs are the oil, gas and energy; palm oil & rubber; financial services; tourism; business services; electrical and electronics; wholesale and retail; education; healthcare; communications content and infrastructure; agriculture; and Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley.

Contributions from each citizen, male or female, old or young, working or not are required to achieve this target. …

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