Originally posted by: georgecorvin
Engineering has become a complicated area of human endeavour and it takes longer than 4 years to have even a grounding in it, hence engineering education should start in the secondary school.
In Hungary, after WW2, a system of secondary technical schools were introduced to overcome skill shortages. In the UK such schools were looked down on, in Hungary the standards were high. All normal secondary school subjects were taught, together with 4-5 engineering subjects, hence one was not limited to follow the same course at university. One day was spent in the schools' well equipped workshops with 8 weeks' of industrial attachment in the summer. The normal school week was 52hrs, homework afterwards, which still left time for serious sport in clubs, many of us dreaming to make it to the Olympics.
There is a discussion about the electronics GCSE here.
and whether it is valued or not compared with science and physics GCSEs.
I think it is possible to reach a consensus that engineering and technology have always been badly taught in British schools and never considered to be important subjects despite the UK having a large manufacturing and engineering heritage. There is also a very strong division between academic and practical subjects.
Primary schools generally did not teach anything about engineering or how machinery worked until after the National Curriculum was introduced. I certainly didn't learn about them at primary school during the 1970s. I suspect that the teachers had no knowledge of engineering or hard sciences and even less interest in them.
Secondary school education was divided into schools for those who passed the 11+ which taught academic subjects and pure sciences, and those which failed the 11+ which taught craft type subjects such as woodwork or domestic science. Engineering subjects which combined both academic and practical facets did not generally feature on the syllabus until after 1980.