ED­I­TO­RIAL

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - CONTENTS - Jane War­wick

“Later that night I held an at­las in my lap ran my fin­gers across the whole world and whis­pered where does it hurt? It an­swered every­where every­where every­where.”

Poet Warsan Shire bled that onto a page and it is a tragic truth. And what makes it an even more heart­break­ing truth is that – give or take a nat­u­ral event or two – ev­ery fes­ter­ing sore is man-made. It is easy to feel hope­less. It is nearly im­pos­si­ble to talk sense into re­li­gious fa­nat­ics; seek the com­mon good from the cor­rupt; seek char­ity from the ex­ces­sive and greedy wealthy; ex­plain free­dom to the op­pressed. But there is one thing we can do – pick up the pieces and en­gi­neers could do this very well.

Engi­neer­ing ed­u­ca­tors should make sure that stu­dents understand that, as fu­ture en­gi­neers, they can go be­yond just learn­ing how to de­sign and build things and need se­ri­ous en­gage­ment with the big­ger so­cial chal­lenges, lo­cally and glob­ally.

Ab­bas El-Zein and Petr Ma­tous from the Univer­sity of Sydney be­lieve engi­neer­ing stu­dents need to be in­ter­ested in prob­lems such as those faced by peo­ple liv­ing in slums in Manila, refugee camps in Jor­dan and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties. For this to hap­pen, engi­neer­ing teach­ing should in­clude more con­tent ad­dress­ing such is­sues, in­clud­ing top­ics that have been tra­di­tion­ally in the do­main of so­cial sci­ences. And man­u­fac­tur­ers will need to back up this new think­ing and un­der­stand­ing by “ex­plor­ing rad­i­cally new ways of cre­at­ing and cap­tur­ing value” in a whole new land­scape.

While you are watch­ing chil­dren rev­el­ling over the hol­i­day sea­son, think of all those chil­dren who do not have a care­free Kiwi child­hood and pon­der on what you could do to make their lives bet­ters.

Against the odds, all is not yet lost in the world – we still have the abil­ity to change things for the bet­ter if we only re­alise it.

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