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Design of the times


Having read in NCE about the need or otherwise for a high level of mathematics for entry to civil engineering courses, I was pleased to see the piece Student turned off by lack of design teaching (NCE 20 June).

For years as an industrial advisor to several university civils departments, I have urged them to place much greater emphasis on design as opposed to analysis. The advice has fallen largely on deaf ears.

Undergraduates deserve something better than an education that has its roots in 19th century teaching. The world has changed and moved on and this should be accepted.

The fact that Ms Leah Gibson's first exposure to conceptual design was in the last week of her Edinburgh university course, and that she was told by her lecturers 'that students would be incapable of doing it soon' indicates how out of touch they are.

Unless academics accept the need to radically change their whole approach to civil engineering education, the decline in interest of young people in careers in the industry will continue.

Peter Campbell, Earlymist, The Bridle Path, Leazes Avenue, Chalden, Calderham, Surrey CR3 5AG

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