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Engineering courses miss out art, says study

MOST ENGINEERING courses fail to deliver a healthy balance between art and science, according to a study carried out by consultant Arup.

Feedback from 1,350 engineers across Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East revealed that levels of dissatisfaction with engineering education run particularly high in Britain. Older engineers are especially critical.

'The only lecturer who managed to convey the 'art' side of engineering happened to be in the field that I ended up going into.

Coincidence? I don't think so, ' wrote one respondent.

'No real art was explored, not even in mathematics. Maths is beauty, ' said another.

Others complained that a few months on site had given them a better understanding of the way art and science intermesh in engineering than three years of academic study.

Among the other conclusions were:

A third of engineers said the imbalance between science and creativity of engineering needs to be addressed urgently.

29% said a balanced education is more motivating, fulfilling and effective.

21% felt courses focused on maths at the expense of human or creative aspects of engineering.

16% said courses fail to engender any passion for the subject.

Of the 39% of engineers who felt they had found a balance, 16% had achieved this through extra-curricular study.

But one UK engineer hit back: 'Art is a means to self-expression. There was no art component in my course at all. This was the correct balance.'

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