A curriculum framework for flexible engineering degrees in South Africa

Conference Paper


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (Scotland)


University of Cape Town


Enhancement and Innovation in Higher Education

South Africa produces too few engineers to meet its development needs. The number of graduating engineers is slowly increasing, but is still only about 2000 per year, serving a population of over 50 million. Data from the Council on Higher Education (CHE 2013) show that for the 2005 cohort of BEng students nationally only 25% obtained an engineering degree in the regulation time of four years, with another 19% taking five years. In a study for the Engineering Council of South Africa on improving throughput (Fisher 2011), one suggestion was to increase curriculum flexibility to better cater for the needs of a diverse student population. As part of a CHE project, we developed exemplar curricula for engineering degrees designed to take either four or five years to complete. In this paper we describe the underpinning principles that guided the design and illustrate how they are applied in curriculum exemplars for a mechanical engineering degree.