'Creative curriculum vital for next generation of Ada Lovelaces'
12 Oct 2021
UK engineering training needs to overcome its ‘overly narrow’ focus on maths and science qualifications when recruiting young talent, says a spokeswoman for educational institute NMITE.
Professor Beverley Gibbs, chief academic officer for NMITE (the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering) delivered her message to mark Ada Lovelance Day on Tuesday October 12.
She used the occasion to criticise the tendency for colleges to ‘select out’ creative qualities essential for engineering innovation.
“Engineers rely on imagination, empathy, creativity, vision and readiness for change - capabilities that come from an understanding of what it is to be human rather than an overly narrow devotion to maths and science,” Gibbs stated.
“Why then, do we spend so little time in the engineering curriculum developing these capabilities, and why do we select them out during our admissions processes?”
NMITE has departed from the usual practice of insisting upon maths and science A-levels for its engineering entrants and has committed itself to including elements of the humanities in its curriculum.
Ada Lovelace Day celebrates the achievement of women in science, with a focus on Lovelace, dubbed the world’s first computer programmer for her groundbreaking work with Charles Babbage.
Despite her short life and the difficulties for a woman gaining academic acceptance in Victorian Britain, Lovelace was widely respected for her mathematical prowess. However, as the daughter of leading poet Lord Byron, here intellectual background owed as much to the arts as the sciences.
To read professor Gibbs’ comments in full, click here.
Photo: Siemens' Springpod was a recent creative initiative to cater for young engineers deprived of onsite placements during lockdown