Continental "Global Engineering Excellence" Initiative: Engineering education not keeping pace with challenges of globalization - Top universities in favor of "open borders" and internationalized stud

Geschrieben am 10-11-2006

Hanover/Frankfurt (ots) -

Unprecedented study shows action required to internationalize
engineering sciences - Continental AG expands international
network of universities

Engineering education that instills global competence is not
keeping pace with the complex and highly dynamic development process
of globalization. Study programs are not sufficiently international
and cross disciplinary, the mutual recognition of degrees or
curriculum modules is still in its infancy, and a worldwide
accreditation system is nowhere in sight. In addition, there are many
government-imposed barriers that hinder an international and, at the
same time, research-oriented study program. Furthermore there are
still hardly any cooperative projects between companies and
universities that go beyond a national framework. These are the key
findings of the "Global Engineering Excellence" study, which was
initiated by Continental AG.

Scientists from the renowned universities Swiss Federal Institute
of Technology Zurich, Switzerland; Georgia Institute of Technology
and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.; Shanghai Jiao Tong
University and Tsinghua University, China; Escola Politécnica
Universidade da São Paulo, Brazil; and the University of Tokyo,
Japan, conducted the study under the leadership of the Technical
University of Darmstadt, Germany. They formulated four key statements
and recommendations for the future education of engineers, based upon
the findings of this unprecedented study, which was presented on
Friday at the Eberbach Cloister near Frankfurt:

* Global competence needs to become a key qualification of
engineering graduates.
* Transnational mobility for engineering students, researchers,
and professionals needs to become a priority.
* Global engineering excellence depends critically on a mutual
commitment to partnerships, especially those that link
engineering education to professional practice.
* Research on engineering in a global context is urgently needed.

As one of the leading international automotive suppliers,
Continental has for many years promoted excellence in the education
of engineers: "Technology is our passion. That is why we called the
"Global Engineering Excellence initiative to life last year to
examine the prospects for engineers in the era of globalization,
their social position and education, as well as their impact on the
productivity of national economies, and to then draw conclusions from
these findings," said Continental Executive Board Chairman Manfred

"We encourage our eight partner universities to develop and set up
their own and joint study courses for the degree of "Master of Global
Engineering" within the framework of this project. In the future,
this could be an elite title for top engineers with an excellent and,
above all, internationally-oriented education," explained Continental
Human Resources Director Thomas Sattelberger. "For the practical part
of the education, we are not only opening up Continental's worldwide
network, we also want to win the collaboration of other partners from
industry." He pointed out that Continental is currently expanding its
existing network with universities.

For the "Global Engineering Excellence" universities, Prof. Dr.
Ing. Reiner Anderl of the TU Darmstadt, which heads the study, called
it "an outstanding milestone on the way to the further development of
engineering education at university level in preparation for working
successfully in international and intercultural teams." He pointed
out that the universities drafted essential and forward-looking
recommendations based upon the findings of the study: "Credits from
suitable partner universities must be recognized, and the learning of
foreign languages made obligatory. New technologies such as
e-learning and video conference systems must also be used more
extensively, and part-time study courses should be promoted for
students from other countries. Cooperative ventures with industry
could be expanded considerably, for instance through research
collaboration, training projects and technical internships."

The universities are also in favor of governments promoting global
engineering education and research, with funding for university
programs and scholarships for international studies or internships.
"Transnational mobility should be improved by, for instance, removing
barriers, such as restrictive visa policies and work permits for
foreign students while they are studying and after they receive their
degree," said Prof. Anderl. One possibility, for instance, would be
to introduce a special category of student visa for technical
internships and part-time jobs. "We feel it is essential that triads
develop consisting of universities and industry together with
politics or government, to make active headway in this topic."

As European Commissioner responsible for Education, and himself a
trained engineer, Ján Figel, who was guest of honor at the "Global
Engineering Excellence" event, said on Thursday night that the study
was "an analysis of the highest quality." He added: "In my view, it
should be required reading for deans of engineering faculties
everywhere," and that "engineers are the key to Europe's future in a
globalized world. But, as the study shows, in a globalized world
engineers need skills that go far beyond what is traditionally
considered necessary."

"Most engineers in this century will work in integrated global
enterprises," explained the long-serving MIT President Emeritus Prof.
Charles Vest, who recently was nominated as new President of the
National Academy of Engineering in the U.S.A. "The "Global
Engineering Excellence" study provides an ambitious but practical
roadmap for educating 21st century engineers to work effectively in
this context."

Continental Executive Board Chairman Wennemer pointed out that
within the framework of the "Global Engineering Excellence"
initiative, students at the eight participating universities would be
asked their opinions regarding the findings and recommendations of
the first study as well as the view they take of their own education,
career opportunities and future prospects on job markets and social
environment. This representative study will be linked with the
Continental Student Survey, which has already been conducted for some
years, and its findings will be presented in 2007.

The Continental Corporation is a leading automotive supplier of
brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics, tires and
technical elastomers. In 2005 the corporation realized sales of
EUR13.8 billion. At present it has a worldwide workforce of
approximately 85,000.

Originaltext: Continental AG
digital press kits: http://presseportal.de/story.htx?firmaid=22259
press kits via RSS: feed://presseportal.de/rss/pm_22259.rss2
ISIN: DE0005439004


Hannes Boekhoff
Head of Press
Continental AG
Vahrenwalder Straße 9, 30165 Hanover/Germany
Phone: +49 511 938-1278, Fax -1055
Email: prkonzern@conti.de

For information about the initiative, visit the websites:
www.global-engineering-excellence.org and www.conti-online.com


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