International Journal of Development and Economic Sustainability (IJDES)

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Engineering Education as a Tool for Human Welfare Improvement in Africa: A Multidimensional Model Analysis


One of the arguments to answer the Malthusian thesis stood on the hope the world had in Engineers. It is however getting more difficult to ascertain the possibility of satisfying the needs of a growing world population while preserving the carrying capacity of ecosystems and biodiversity particularly in Africa. The role of the engineer and engineering education in addressing the issues of water, sanitation, energy, shelter, site planning, infrastructure, food production and distribution, communication, poverty and human welfare has been rather limited in Africa. It is therefore doubtful whether human welfare could be optimized through engineering education and practice in Africa for current and future generations. This paper sought to analyze the extent to which engineering education and practice can enhance human welfare in Africa through a multidimensional model approach to human welfare. Data was obtained through face-to-face interviews with engineering educators, engineering students, engineers and beneficiaries of engineered facilities in Ghana. The College of Engineering of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology which has provided engineering education for students across Africa since 1952 was used as a proxy for an engineering educator in Africa. Even though Africa has produced engineers who have practiced in the field since the 1950s, the bridge between the engineer and the society he works for has been weak and wobbly. This has not worked well for human welfare improvement. The welfare implications of rethinking the engineer were also discussed.

Keywords: Africa, Engineering education, Ghana, Human welfare, Multidimensional model

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