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Engineering Education Tasks for the New Century: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives
ISSUES, FINDINGS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BOTH COUNTRIES
The United States and Japan share several common challenges related to engineering education in the next century, such as attracting adequate numbers of young people to the field, particularly women and minority groups who are currently under represented. In a changing engineering environment characterized by intense industrial competition, rapid technological advance, and expanded international cooperation, both countries will be challenged to build on their strengths and address their weaknesses to build the right education and training systems for tomorrow's engineers. The systems must produce engineers that possess a firm grasp of fundamentals and sufficient creativity to meet unfamiliar tasks; incentives and resources to maintain and enhance their skills throughout their careers; and capabilities to operate effectively in a variety of international environments.
In the discussions of global engineering and the utilization of information technology in engineering education, the task force was only able to scratch the surface and identify issues that other groups will need to address more fully in the future. Domestic and international efforts to harmonize and rationalize educational regulatory frameworks, as well as accreditation and certification processes, will be needed so that engineering education can tap the possibilities opened by information technology advances and international cooperation. The Japanese and U.S. engineering communities, working through professional societies, government, industry, and academia, can make important contributions.
Japan and the United States should maintain and increase their own engineering education exchanges, and lead international initiatives to improve engineering education exchanges and to develop global engineering capabilities.
The U.S. and Japanese engineering communities should work with each other and with other countries and groups to achieve harmonized regulatory, accreditation, and certification systems that allow the timely diffusion of educational approaches utilizing information technology.