Thursday, June 30, 2011

300,000 Engineers by 2020, Quantity or Quality?

The nation is capable of producing between 275,000 and 300,000 engineers by the year 2020, thus achieving the status of a developed country with one engineer to every 100 residents.
~ Datuk Seri Mohamed Khalid Nordin, Higher Education Minister

Produce engineers to achieve the status of a developed country. Sounds like I'm in the middle of a production line.

I wonder if there's this image in people's mind, that the moment we reach 300,000 engineers, suddenly Malaysia will level up and be transformed into a developed country. 

A cool picture but unfortunately its not the reality. Becoming a developed country is ultimately just a figure of speech. A man made word to classify countries and segregate communities. If you think about it, is being a developed country a final step in a country's development? There are so many degrees of development. Now think about this, in the current economic setup GLCs have more power and stand as a larger economic force then many developed countries. Yet, here we are trying to produce enough engineers to cross a line drawn in the sand. 

So if our country is trying to reach a line in the sand drawn by god knows who, its time for me to draw my own line in the sand. I like drawing. 

What we need are not 300,000 more engineers graduating to write quality and production reports for the next 30 years of their lives. What we need are 1000 engineers with passion in their discipline, 1000 more engineers with a vision to improve our country,  and a further 1000 more engineers with entrepreneurial dreams. Give them a fertile ground to explore, expand and be excited with what they are doing. 

I guess 'my' developed nation will have far less engineers and more dreamers. Wonder if that would qualify?

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