Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, Supplement, 73-75
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.37B018
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Research on Personnel Cultivation of Higher Engineering
Education in China From Perspective of Problems and Solutions
based on Training Process
Zhang Xue
School of Basic Medical Sciences, HeBei United University, Tangshan, China
Received 2012
In the past 10 years, higher engineering education has developed rapidly, and made the contribution to the
modern engineering education system. However, cultivation of higher engineering education students
meets new problems. Therefore, it is essential to deal with the problems to improve the quality of higher
engineering education, and good advice should help engineering graduates more suitable to society.
Keywords: Higher Engineering Education; Personnel Cultivation; Problems and Solution; Training
In recent years, with the rapid update of science and tech-
nology, engineers play an important role in promoting eco-
nomic and social development. Therefore, the cultivation of
engineering talents decides the level and speed of engineering
technology, and has influence on the industrial competitiveness
power. The higher engineering education occupies an important
position in higher education structure, and becomes the main
channel for cultivating engineers, thus supporting the develop-
ment of engineering science and technology of the nation.
Therefore, many countries are promoting engineering education
reform and development, trying to cultivate the high-quality
engineers to maintain the advantage in competition.
The Definition, Characteristics and Status Quo
The Definition and Characteristics
The higher engineering education is a specific education
based on technological science, with the aim of cultivating
engineer who can transfer science and technology into produc-
tivity [1]. It emphases on application in practice from theory,
points at the capability of solving on-site engineering problems,
focuses on team-spirit training.
Faced with the rapid and great changes of 21st century,
American Engineering and Technology Certification Board
made 11 assess standards for the new enginee ri ng edu cati on talents,
including: (1) the capability of the application of mathematics,
science and engineering knowledge, (2) the capability of design,
laboratory analysis and data processing, (3) the capability of
designing component, system or process as needed, (4) the
comprehensive capacity of various training, (5) the capability to
validate, guide and solve engineering problems, (6) the know-
ledge of profession and social responsibility, (7) the ability to
express and communicate effectively, (8) the understanding of
the impact of engineering problems on the global environment,
(9) the ability of life-long learni ng, (10) the knowledge of today’s
problems, (11) the capacity of application of various techniques
and modern engineering tools to solve practical problems. Thus,
the 21st century requires engineering graduates to have compos-
ite knowledge structure, comprehensive ability, and higher
engineering quality [2].
The Status Quo
At present, the higher engineering education in China devel-
oped rapidly, making a lot of success. Firstly, in China, the
education scale expands rapidly with engineering at university
holding the largest share. In 2010, engineering students was
about one-third of the total number of college students, the
largest share of higher education. Secondly, education structure
gets optimized. Professional master's degree based on applica-
tion and practice has been affirmed and developed rapidly.
Master of Engineering accounted for the largest share in 2010,
with the total enrollment of 3.86 million people. Now we start
the pilot of Doctor of Engineering Graduate Education [3].
Thirdly, the graduates have made significant achievement after
graduation in the field of coal, metallurgy, petrochemical, man-
ufacturing, electricity and transportation.
Main Problems of the Cultivation
Higher engineering education in China has made achieve-
ments, as scale expands, quality improves and efficiency in-
creases. But compared with developed countries, there are still
large gaps and many problems as below:
Unclear Cultivating Objective
China once followed the example of the Soviet system to set
professional major, which focuses on the professional personnel
target training [4]. After the reform, we found its limitation and
began to explore the general education, the way of the United
States. However, China's corporate research and development
strength is relatively weak, and the engineer cannot be easily
cultivated in the enterprise. In China's higher engineering edu-
cation system, there is still a large controversy on how to train
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
scientists or engineers. And it is a question to cultivate general-
ist or specialized personnel.
There is not enough coordination between degree, system
and multi-level training requirements in engineering education.
The training objective of the multi-level education and the divi-
sion is not very clear, lack of characteristics. And there is still
blind pursuit of high-level tendency. For example, some uni-
versities of technology are blind to the integrated direction,
resulting in a single level and only one mode, unable to adapt to
the diverse needs of the society.
Old Teaching Content
The problem exists in both traditional and emerging majors.
The course content updates behind the times, and the theory is
divorced from working practice. Many so-called new or revised
materials is still in the original system with the content lack of
knowledge that reflects the disciplinary development of cut-
ting-edge new science, new technologies and new thinking.
Lack of Practical Process
In higher engineering education curriculum system, the the-
ory classes occupy too large proportion, but the practice classes
including hours of design, experiment, practice, trainee, gradu-
ate design share small parts. Too much emphasis on the theory
of knowledge, while ignoring the practice of knowledge, results
in theory not fully with practice. And practical lessons are just
to test, review, consolidating to knowle dge. Therefore, the gra-
duates of Higher Engineering Education are mostly lack of
practical ability, creative spirit, and practical problem-solving
capability in integrated and complex project. Meanwhile, the
drawback of communication and teamwork is demonstrated
more prominent.
Single Teaching Method
Teaching method and model is usually an injection of
knowledge education, which put too much emphasis on knowledge
scheduled to teaching and acceptance of knowledge. The lack
of interaction between teachers and students is the main
problem, and it is difficult for students to actively participate in
teaching activities. Traditional teaching methods and models
are hard to help develop students' divergent, critical and
creative thinking which is conducive to innovation ability.
Besides, the above approach ignores the differences between
different students, and it is not conducive to the personality
development of students.
Away from Enterprise Needs
Engineering education which is not closely linked to the
enterprises, and lack of forward-looking perspective on the
market, has been revealed as a serious problem in the job-
hunting market. For example, ente rprise s need a lot of en gineerin g
and technical personnel, but the graduates of Higher
Engineering Education, cannot find the job which matches with
their highly educated degree, due to the obsolete knowledge
and little innovation.
The Training Paths to Explore
Under the present circumstances, Higher Engineering
Education in China must establish a reasonable education sys-
tem and training mode in line with the requirements of the
times, in order to meet the requirements of engineering and
technical personnel in the context of globalization.
Clear Training Objectives
Higher engineering is a system, which includes professional
education, undergraduate education, graduate education and
postgraduate education. Engineering education at all levels
should accurately locate their own training objectives. Higher
professional education focuses on the cultivation of skilled
personnel with the initial training of engineers. Undergraduate
training completes the basic training of engineers. Graduate
education cultivates senior specialists of the highest level. To
be specific, master degree has higher requirements on the depth
and breadth than the undergraduates and for doctoral students,
the goal emphases on science and technology researchers and
teaching staff.
Graduate education should be not limited to a single scholar
model, but further adapt to society. The interdisciplinary Master
of Engineering, Doctor of Engineering will gradually become
an important form of graduate training. Higher Engineering
Education mainly aims at training personnel who will work at
first line of production, so it is important to build good
foundation of knowledge and expertise, as well as to strengthen
practical ability to work. Graduate as a complex talent with an
interdisciplinary cross-professional degree will be welcomed by
Optimize the Teaching System
Higher Education of Engineering has its own training
objectives, academic settings, teaching content, teaching
methods and management system. It is essential to adjust
professional setting, expand professional caliber, broaden the
basis of discipline, and change to adapt to the needs of the
community project, which fully reflects the requirements of
knowledge, ability and quality.
It is advisable to revise teaching plan according to the
modern engineer training objectives, and to determine the
proportion of various types of courses. It also should increase in
the experimental design, trainee, internship and other practice
hours and update teaching content by using the cutting-edge,
advanced and practical new textbooks. Thus, it is indispensible
to focus on interdisciplinary integration, broaden their
knowledge, and enhance adaptabilit y.
The re-application, re-practice, and re-solve the problem
should be highlighte d. Teaching method such as o n-site teaching,
case teaching, and participatory teaching should be used. To
strengthen the application of modern teaching technologies and
means, such as computer-aided teaching, online teaching, and
to encourage students to identify and solve the problem in
practice should be high lightened.
Enhance the Project Training
Higher Engineering Education requires engineers to lay a
solid foundation of knowledge, with the actual ability to solve
the engineering and technical problems. It is urgent to train
qualified engineers for Chinese universities to strengthen the
teaching of engineering practice, and modern engineering
training for students.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Engineering training is the real factory production process to
train students to have engineering practice competencies, skills,
and to develop the awareness of students' engineering process.
China's universities should cooperate with industrial enterprises
in the field of project, curriculum design, case st udies, production
practice and graduated design, closely combined with engineering
Moder n engineeri ng train ing enable students t o fully ex perience
the innovation process, to develop students' awareness of
creative thinking and innovation capability. Students operate by
themselves, and to design, process, produce, learning not only
innovative design in production, but also a comprehensive
system throughout the training process.
Zhang Xue thanks the vice researcher Mr. Hu Qing-xi for
recommendation of this conference and guiding degree papers
on talents cultivation during study period, and thanks the vice
researcher Mr. Liu Yun-qiu for guiding research on higher pe-
troleum engineering education.
Shi Ming-xian, “Engineering education reform for the 21st century”
Beijing: China University Teaching, October 2002.
Zhao De-wu, “Stanford Univ ersity practical ed ucatio n al ph ilo so phy and
academic state-of-the-art scheme” Beijing: World Education, March
Zhu Gao-feng, “New century Chinese engineering education reform
and development” Beijing: Higher Education of Engineering, Janu-
ary 2003.
Yu Li, “The history of higher education” Shanghai: East China Nor-
malUniversity Press,pp.49, 1994.