Afeka Conference 2017 – Education and Higher Learning Adapted to Changing Reality
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“It appears that future demand will be for engineers who, beyond their multi-disciplinary professional knowledge, have a broad general education and “soft skills” that include “thinking competencies” such as: self-learning, critical thinking, planning, time management and problem solving; “communication competencies” such as: presentation and teamwork and; personal and inter-personal “emotional competencies”. Consequently, the engineering education process will also have to adjust to the changing reality.” This is how Prof. Ami Moyal, President of Afeka College, opened the Annual Conference for the Development of National Human Capital in Engineering, that took place at Afeka College on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Leaders of industry, government ministries, the IDF and the education system met at the conference to discuss the education of engineers for industry in a changing reality.
Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, Chairperson of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council for Higher Education in Israel, raised the issue of women’s integration into the engineering field, noting that, “data show only 25% women in BA Engineering programs, and 23% in Master’s degree Engineering programs. The goal is to increase these numbers and bring more women to choose these fields of study in higher education institutions. This will help gender equality and reduce the shortage of workers in industry.”
Michal Tzuk, Director of Employment Regulation and Senior Deputy Director General at the Ministry of Economy, provided several figures that point to the severe shortage of engineers, centering on the fact that there were about 3,300 vacant engineering posts in 2013, which increased to 6,500 this year.
Prof. Yossi Matias, Vice President Engineering at Google and Managing Director of Google's R&D Center in Israel, indicated that engineers in Israel should also be trained in soft and vital competencies such as the ability to work in a team and to make presentations.
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