I am surprised and concerned over the JBM's decision to drop mathematics as a required A level for civil engineering degree courses (NCE 14 November). While high level pure mathematics may not be directly usable in everyday civil engineering, the 'mental gymnastics' involved help to train engineers in logical and systematic thought.
I believe the omission of maths from the entry requirements of universities would not only lower the standard of engineers produced, but would also lead to civils being perceived as a lower form of engineering.
The decision to become a civil engineer is usually made at 17 years old, when degree courses are applied for. Yet very few 17 year olds know what they want to do with their lives.
Other professions such as education, law and medicine acknowledge this, and offer fast track or conversion courses.
There is no standard postgraduate course for civil engineering.
Rather than lowering standards, the current recruitment crisis could be more successfully solved if universities and the Institution developed a post-graduate civil engineering qualification suitable for students of maths, sciences or other related degrees.
Stephen Cavanagh, Binnie Black & Veatch, BBV@meltonmowbray. freese rve.co.uk