Will we ever have engineers?

As noted by Vivian, the first of three key ingredients before anything starts is to have engineers, engineers who are valued and who want to change the world by their work and their ideas.

As an engineer myself I of course agree with that.  As we laud engineers and the possibilities of what that means, I fear that we are being set up for failure. We as in Singapore, that is. We not skilling up enough members of the next generation to become engineers to the extent that we need.

Back when I completed my “A” levels (1977), electrical engineering was the *hottest* program to get into, regardless of university.  Fast forward to today, 2013, getting into E school has dipped to an all time low, especially, electrical engineering (and I will lump computer, communications and electronics into that).

The competition is now for entry into business school and, dare I say, the “softer” programs.  There, I’ve said it.  We are not seeing strong competition for entry into the hard sciences nor math nor engineering. What happened?

Where and when will we be able to reverse this spiral into mediocrity?

I was attending the Singapore Polytechnic open house yesterday. My older son is keen on the Poly and electrical engineering at that. It warms my heart that he want to take that program and it was all his personal choice.  I do not demand our sons to follow the paths of their parents, but if they do, it is a bonus.

But what bothers me is that the Poly lists electrical engineering as having the least competitive entry requirements – 22 points (the O level scores needed from the English, 2 relevant subjects and 2 best subjects) and Business Administration needing 12. Really? 12 vs 22?

See this document:


Note that the most sought after engineering program is Aeronautical Engineering (12 points) and the least is Electrical and Electronic Engineering (22 points) while Biomedical Science is the most sought after at 8 points. Perhaps the 8 points and the 22 points are outliers but it is still very worrisome.