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THE IBEROAMERICAN ENGINEER

FOREWORD
Around 1999 the process of consolidation of the initiative of the Iberoamerican Association of
Institutions for Engineering Education ASIBEI, to identify the conceptual characteristics and the
desirable features of the Iberoamerican Engineer, began. This process was specially illustrated in
a presentation to the Executive Committee by engineer Luis Ortiz Berrocal, at that moment
Lecturer at the Escuela Tcnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales of the Universidad
Politcnica de Madrid.
The main objectives included the search of mutual recognition of programs and degrees among
the countries members of the Association based on minimum curricular content, equivalent
accreditation systems, strategies and channels to enhance student and lecturer mobility, and
aspects dealing with professional performance, in particular in relation to professional councils.
On December 2003 ASIBEI Published the work 1 Culture, Profession and Accreditation of
Iberoamerican Engineers written by engineer Marcel Antonio Sobrevila, member of the
National Academy of Education of the Republic of Argentina and also member of the Federal
Council of Argentinean Engineering Deans, CONFEDI. This document has been a useful reference
for analyses and studies performed on such aspects as: evolution of the engineer in history;
modalities of the professional exercise of engineering in Iberoamerican; academic models;
transnational education and degree accreditation in Iberoamerican.
On may 2005 representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mxico, Portugal,
Uruguay and Venezuela gathered in the city of Santa Fe, Argentina, on behalf of Spanish and
Portuguese speaking Latin America, for the 16th Meeting of the Executive Committee of ASIBEI.
As a product of their thoughtful thinking about topics of the greatest importance and meaning
for the commitment in the formation of Iberoamerican engineers, the Association made public
its thought about topics related to a proposal of an Iberoamerican engineer, university entrance
politics, and implementation of academic credits and nominal duration of engineering
programs.
Through this statement, known as The Santa Fe Declaration, ASIBEI pointed out that the main
objective of the proposal of an Iberoamerican Engineer is the creation of a common ground for
engineering education in our countries, to support the endeavors which could lead to
agreements for substantially equivalent engineering curriculum designs, sensitive enough to
differences and special characteristics of each of the countries, but at the same time designed

This document can be found at www.asibei.org and in the ASIBEI Documentation Center (Carrera 68 D N 68 C - 61 Office 205;
Torre Central Building, Bogot, D.C., Colombia. Telephone: 57-1-4273065;
Fax: 57-1-427 3065 ext. 102; e-mail: secretaria@acofi.edu.co

as mechanisms for the equivalence and recognition of degrees. Those agreements should
improve the academic mobility among our countries.
From the Associations point of view the objective is the search for integrating lines to deal
with the common problems of the Iberoamerican reality and the identification and possible
adoption of curricular structures as central common elements to help to perform comparable
evaluation among different countries. The main aim would be the creation of a Common
Iberoamerican Space of Engineering Education. In the document it is emphasized that the
implications of the engineer formation on the professional exercise and everything related to
it- should not be disregarded. In the same way the importance that the Iberoamerican engineer
has in our countries and the agreements about professional services- that have been supported
by several free trade agreements - have to be put in context.
The V Iberoamerican Meeting of Engineering Education Institutions held in the city of Morelia,
Mxico on December 2005 and the I Venezuelan Congress in Engineering Education, held in
Maracaibo, Venezuela, on June 2006, were the stage for new struggles to refine the conceptual
framework of the Iberoamerican engineer and, in that way, to design the thematic structure
and to define the objective vision of the association.
On august 2006 engineer Julio Csar Can Rodrguez 2was appointed by the presidency of
ASIBEI to collect and synthesize the documental precedents of the Iberoamerican Engineer
Project. The work presented here is a result of that exercise, which resulted in a thorough
perspective about the subject. It also points out to the main consensus reached at the
discussions held in the Association and aims to be a document to orientate the analysis of this
topic in the VI Iberoamerican Meeting of Engineering Education Institutions scheduled for
October 2006 in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
This document highlights the commitment to transform that the Iberoamerican engineer has to
assume and it takes a regional perspective to emphasize, among many aspects, the participation
of indigenous roots in building- together with the European influence- local, national and
regional sceneries for the development of the Iberoamerican engineering. Features as rigor and
commitment, implicit in engineering formation, are underlined in the document. The impact
and social responsibility of the profession, in particular in aspects related to the strategic value
of the sustained action; formation for leadership and politic participation, gaps reduction, ethic
commitment and education for value preservation. This work contributes elements for an
Action Plan and it shows some actions and institutional political lines that ASIBEI and

Engineer Julio Csar Can Rodrguez, Associated Professor of the Faculty of Engineering of the Universidad
Nacional de Colombia, is author of several publications related to the topic of high education quality: Estndares de Calidad: sus
efectos en las aulas. Un ejercicio de Microzonificacin Normativa (Quality standards: their effect in the classrooms. An exercise of
normative micro zoning), 2003, and Retrato Hablado de la Evaluacin Externa (Spoken Portrait of External Evaluation), 2004;
ACOFI-ASIBEI he is also coauthor, together with professors Albniz, V; Salazar; J;
and Silva, E., of the book Tres Momentos del Compromiso Docente en Ingeniera (Three Moments of the Educational
Engagement in Engineering), 2007.

engineering education associations- and all those public and private organizations related to the
Iberoamerican Engineer Project- should assume.
ASIBEI is convinced that this publication -product of several years of work, participation and
analysis of all association members will be an important benchmark for the advance of this
initiative of academic regionalization, precisely in this age characterized by such complex topics
as globalization, internationalization and opening of markets, the dynamic development of
information and Communication Technologies, the sustainable preservation of the
environment, tensions between academy and the economic sector and the outbreak of new
providers of Higher Education.
ASIBEI acknowledges Professor Julio Csar Can Rodrguez for his contributions to the
publication structure due to his knowledge of the topic and his critical vision of the essential
elements of engineering education. We hope that this document will contribute to the
discussion of a topic with such a vital importance for the Iberoamerican academic community.
Bogot, may 2007

ABSTRACT
To identify and characterize the differentiating features of an engineer educated in the
Iberoamerican region it is necessary to consider the effect of the particularities and
commitments with local and regional communities on the educational process and the
professional practice.
The transforming capacity of Iberoamerican engineers depends on their intellectual freedom
(support of autonomy and independence) which, in turn, allows them to identify needs and
significant opportunities for society. It also helps them to create and propose solutions with
technically solid, environmental, economic and social arguments. These are product of
reflection and analysis of lessons learnt in engineering practice.
The evaluation of the relevance and sustainability of ASIBEIs initiative about education of the
Iberoamerican engineer can find orientation and references in the study of the actions and
accomplishments of some regional experiences of academic and cultural cooperation, in order
to develop a project which can really impinge on the spirit and features of Iberoamerican
engineering.
The project has to take into account two essential factors for a transcendent analysis: On one
hand, the seriousness and the high level of academic requirements as indispensable
requirements of engineering formation in Iberomerica; and, on the other hand, the reach and
deepness of the engineering commitment to the sustainable development of the region and the
improvement of the life quality level of its inhabitants.
Strategies and projects included in an action plan directed to materialize ASIBEIs proposal
require the participation and commitment of every one of the actors with interests in the
development and growth of engineering in Iberoamerica.

1. Presentation
The Iberoamerican engineer can be defined as a professional with solid cultural base and
unbreakable values and principles; aware of the importance and meaning of his links with
regional history and loyal to his social and environmental commitment; eager to identify
problems and opportunities of the local and national medium; scientifically and technically able
to act in a responsible and competent way in any international scenery.
The transforming capacity of the Iberoamerican engineer has to be founded on the privilege of
his vision as a professional practitioner of self- formation and permanent improvement of his
knowledge; it also has to be founded on his preparation to guide society in the negotiation of its
development and in the strengthening of the moral and material infrastructure. Education in
the university campus has to give the Iberoamerican engineer the necessary foundations to

easily transit the road of permanent bringing to date; and at the same time exerting upon
society a decisive influence to give science and technology a place of privilege within the new
and dynamic relations between knowledge and society.
The transforming commitment would be easier to accomplish by the Iberoamerican engineer if
personal and social development is contemplated within his education as a higher value than
the sole formation within the domain of knowledge necessary for the exercise of his functions,
but not enough to support the leadership and directive role that society demands and needs
from its engineers.
It is important to establish the image of the graduate as a part of the new perspectives of higher
education, because the image of the graduate that reaches the university degree and then
walks away from the classroom it is not good anymore to satisfy the need to bring to date his
knowledge; this need makes the engineer with self formation consciousness to remain
connected to the university without any pause.
The Iberoamerican engineer has a duty with the local and national needs and opportunities. He
is aware of the needs of globalization that the new trends of professional mobility impose. For
this reason he has to be tuned with the needs to update his knowledge that make of him and
actor with interest in the highest educational levels.
Undergraduate programs (known as pregrado within the lexicon of higher education in some
countries) are not anymore terminal levels of education; they are step by step transformed in
platforms for strategic preparation for scenery of multiple alternatives in a very complex,
dynamic and flexible exercise, strongly adaptable to the socioeconomic conditions and the
extraordinary scientific and technical innovation.
These extraordinary dimensions of the perspective of engineer formation need a radical
transformation in the conception of new curricula designs. From the structure of the
educational syllabus to the pedagogical, educational, physical, informatics and bibliographical
resources; it has to be proportional to the specific aims of formation that want to be included in
the Iberoamerican professional engineer. The new circumstances of the relationships between
higher education, knowledge and society lead us, as Iberoamerican citizens, to build a renewed
and sustainable project for engineering education on the common bases of our history and with
a respectful treatment of the specific situations of each country3.

2. The Regional Perspective4


3

I Venezuelan Congress on Engineering Education. Conclusions and recommendations. A transforming engineer for Iberoamerica.
Maracaibo, July 2006.
4

In some parts of this document the term Latino America will be used to refer to the American component of the region. In this way,
it will be clear that the reach of some comments about development and life quality do not include the Spanish and Portuguese
societies.

The concept of an Iberoamerican region goes beyond geographical conventions and takes into
account the historic continuity of the European encounter with America. Countries formed from
Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the American continent aggregate in a group of
considerable cultural richness, well recognized biodiversity, enormous natural resources
potential and very special social expectations. The American component of the region is rich in
artistic expressions, essential mineral reserves, exuberant displays of natural beauty and
permanent social effervescence. A mosaic of cities, some of them enormous, and small towns, is
the living place of five hundred million people distributed in a continental body occupying two
hemispheres.
Spain and Portugal are a natural reference for their old colonies and they represent the contact
of the New World with European history and civilization. The nature of the relationships
between the two components of the region, the European and the American, has evolved to
reach closer types of cooperation and commercial, cultural, scientific and technological
relationships. These contacts are not free, of course, from conflicts and difficulties. Within this
context the efforts directed to build channels of joint academic action deserve special mention.
Within this group, those like the one proposed by ASIBEI -that can help the formation of
engineers able to decode the signs coming from the extended scenery of the Iberoamerican
region and eager to act with their resources, opportunities, needs and expectations - must be
included.
The general conditions of development of American countries with Iberian roots have not
reached yet the required level to guarantee the access of the whole population to the basic
services for the collective well being. Within the social imaginary of the region the role of
science and technology in the development processes of the nations, is not determinant. For
this reason it is imperative to formulate sustainable proposals of action to promote
development initiatives which could channel through engineering the economic opportunities
of globalization in order to close the development gaps of the different countries. This has to be
accomplished without diminishing the recognition and preservation of the local and regional
cultural values; without decreasing the social commitment and the duties of engineering with
the most vulnerable sectors of the population.
Deficiencies in infrastructure productive capacity and competitivity- as well as significant levels
of inequity in the distribution of resources, goods and income- make difficult the full access of
Latin-American countries to the advantages and achievements of science and technology and
impede the harmonic promotion of the citizens to better life conditions. Resulting social
tensions are increased with the economic pressure derived of commercial agreements and
subsequent demands of openness and competitivity making echo of the requisitions of
economic globalization.
The region evolves step by step in the middle of scenery of transformations and reordering in
almost every aspect of social life. This also happens in the evaluation of the effect that new

relationships and tensions between higher education, knowledge and society have on local and
regional educational and productive systems. The structural and functional connections
between these variables are subject to radical changes all around the world.
The three forces have experienced, both jointly and in separate, a series of adjustments and
transformations that, as a result, make possible:
-The entanglement of interests and commitments between society and higher education up to
the point in which the latter can be, every day more, an institution integrated to society; and
every day less, a distant reference from it.
-Production and diffusion of knowledge (especially that with a larger and faster social effect and
economic impact) in research centers, laboratories and corporations independent of higher
education institutions.
-Higher education acceptance of definitions and external demands for knowledge to serve social
requirements. Higher education has to respond to the epistemological needs of society, because
society does not put up with what academics decide to research and produce in matter of
knowledge. Knowledge production, diffusion and transmission were topics that society in
general recommended, without much reserve, to a group of institutions enabled with autonomy
and financed through common resources. Those institutions had a situation in the outskirts of
society, outside its boundaries, installed in their own grounds. Their research and educational
functions were important only for a small elite sector of society. The outbreak and consolidation
of research centers independent of universities or at least distant of their educational functions,
and industry and government pressures to improve the speed of response to research initiatives
in strategic fields, lead to the production and diffusion of knowledge in centers different from
higher education institutions.

Having lost predominance in research, higher education faces now another challenge: organized
competition for knowledge transmission. Higher education privileges are questioned in the
domain of teaching. The idea that classrooms are not the exclusive scenery to develop
university formation was stimulated in Latin America and the Caribbean around 60s and 70s of
the past century when governments decided to cope the increasing demand of university places
with a strategy based on technological support: to enter distance learning modalities, taking
advantage of new information and communication technologies which allow to increase
coverage without overloading school capacity and without exaggerated economic stress.
Within this scene of outstanding facts, new roles and commitments are defined for higher
education. Institutions and programs have to give explanations to society about results, quality
and efficiency in the use of assigned resources. Now they are forced to explain openly their
curricular proposals and to allow external evaluation of their processes and results in order to
receive in exchange, permits, certifications and accreditations that gradually define a new
reference system for social perception of quality in higher education.
Commercial competition imposed by market opening and globalization, encouraged the
evolution of the concept of quality and of the strategies, processes and instruments to assure it.

Quality is one of the results of the organizational capacity of society, in the sense of a scene
where there is competition with features and high specifications of goods and services
provided, as well as with efficiency, flexibility, creativity and innovation capabilities of
producers.
Because education is assumed as qualified when it responds to requirements and characteristics
that allow to verify and register its proximity to systems, norms, and parameters internationally
recognized, the possibilities to successfully face demands of qualified processes are seriously
threatened by budgetary limitations and by the explosive growth of institutions, programs and
professional titles, some of them without the elementary conditions to satisfy the minimum
quality requirements, with the foreseeable consequences in terms of competivity, productivity
and social confidence in higher education.
Faced to this situation, educational institutions and specially higher education institutions of
the region- have new and important responsibilities that add to pending tasks concerning to the
development of national societies that constitute their environment. While they are preparing
themselves to face new demands, they have to respond for their old obligations and, at the
same time, they have to deal with unseen social control practices in many countries of the
region.
In the middle of this complex scenery, engineering cannot stay indifferent either as an academic
project, or as a professional exercise, strongly committed to the attainment of the goods and
means necessary for and equitable, harmonic and sustainable social development respectful of
culture, environment and human dignity. Society hopes that engineering can act as a channel
through which new and better development strategies and options can circulate, based on the
exploitation of opportunities and directed to the improvement of the negotiation capabilities of
the region as a response to the world market requirements.
Engineering as a social enterprise has left important footprints possible to trace as a legacy of
indigenous cultures in the countries of the region. Stone tracks built in inaccessible places,
pyramids, and ceremonial centers, engineering marvels like Macchu Picchu 5, an example of
urban planning, hydraulic management and building practices; Complex floods control systems
and stream flow exploitation with agricultural purposes6, are some activities that can be
considered, without any doubt, as distant predecessors of the exercise of that which is
modernly recognized as engineering. The identification, documentation and study of these early
contributions should guide a respectful look to the wisdom of the ancestors and at the same
time should teach reasons of pride by the regional past and its contribution to technique.

5
6

Wright, K. y Valencia, A. (2000).Macchu Picchu A Civil Engineering Marvel. ASCE Press. Reston, Va, USA.

Plazas, C.; Falchetti, A.; Senz, J.; Archiva, S. (1993). La sociedad hidrulica Zen. Estudio arqueolgico de 2000 aos de
historia en las llanuras del Caribe colombiano. (The hydraulic society of the Zenu. Arqueological study of 2000 years of history in
the plains of colombian caribbean). Coleccin bibliogrfica Banco de la Repblica, Bogot.

In the beginnings of what could be called Iberoamerican engineering those expressions of


technological development appearing after the encounter of Europe and America- although the
European contribution was determinant it is also very important to take into account the
indigenous contribution when the complex resultant cultural fabric is considered. Assimilation
and improvement of techniques and instruments and, above all, the adaptation of those to the
very special geographic, climatic and cultural conditions of the new countries, could be taken as
the most remote predecessors of the Iberoamerican engineering and they are with no doubt
formidable historic arguments in favor of a proposal of formation of engineers distinguished
with that regional signature. With certainty, in times of history characterized by competence
and freedom of choice, is only natural that educational options and sceneries of professional
exercise spring inspired on different interests and paradigms.
Within the resultant range of options, a fertilized field for the improvement of engineering
perspectives in the region, can arise; but in the middle of the range of alternatives is wise to
remember the convenience to revive a common past and take advantage of, in the best of the
meanings, the historic, linguistic, cultural and social vicinity and the coincidence of a good part
of the needs and expectations.

Regional action referents


For the task of promoting a proposal as the one suggested by ASIBEI, it is convenient to examine
the precedents of the regional cooperation where Iberoamerican countries concur. Some
policies, strategies, organization forms, programs and actions can be useful for the preparation
and formulation of a project of formation of engineers with a regional vocation.
Some of the experiences of joint action that due to their closeness with academic
commitments- could illustrate the design of a project of formation of engineers, are those
advanced by entities like the Organizacin de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educacin, la
Ciencia y la Cultura OEI (Iberoamerican Countries Organization for Education, Science and
Culture), the Convenio Andrs Bello-CAB (Andrs Bello Agreement), the Asociacin
Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado- AUIP (Iberoamerican postgraduate university
association) and the Red Iberoamericana para la Acreditacin de la Calidad de la Educacin
Superior- RIACES (Iberoamerican Network for Higher Education Quality Accreditation).

Organizacin de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educacin, la Ciencia y la Cultura (OEI)


(Iberoamerican Countries Organization for Education, Science and Culture). It is an international
organism of governments for the cooperation among Iberoamerican countries in the fields of
education, science, technology and culture in a context of integral development, democracy and
regional integration. The headquarters of its General Secretary are in Madrid, Spain. It has
Regional Offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Spain, Mxico and Per and also
Technical Offices in Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua and Paraguay. OEI was born in 1949 with the
name Oficina de Educacin Iberoamericana (Iberoamerican Education Office) as an
international agency, as a consequence of the First Iberoamerican Congress on Education held
in Madrid. In 1954, in the Second Iberoamerican Congress on Education held in Quito, it was

decided to transform the OEI in an organism of governments, formed by sovereign states; with
that character, it was founded in March 15th, 1957. In the Third Iberoamerican Congress on
Education, held in Santo Domingo, the first statutes of OEI, held until 1985, were signed.
From the First Iberoamerican Conference of Heads of State and Government (Guadalajara,
1991), OEI has promoted and convoked the Ministries of Education Conferences as entities for
the preparation of those high level meetings and it has taken charge of those educational,
scientific and cultural programs that are delegated to the organization for their execution. The
general objectives of the Organization include some where the objectives of the ASIBEIs
proposal for engineers formation could have a wide resonance:
-To promote the development of education and culture as a valid and feasible alternative for
peace construction, by means of the human being preparation for a responsible exercise of
freedom, solidarity and human rights defense and to support changes that make possible a
more just society for Iberoamerica.
-To ensure that educational systems have a threefold goal: humanistic: to develop ethic, integral
and harmonic formation of new generations; democratic: to assure equality of educational
opportunities and social equity; and productive: to support job insertion.
-To collaborate in the diffusion of a culture that, taking into account the idiosyncrasy and the
peculiar features of every country, embodies modernity codes to allow the incorporation of
global advances in science and technology, to revaluate own cultural identity and to take
advantage of the answers that brings their accumulation.
-To promote the approximation of educational, scientific, technological and cultural plans to
socio- economic plans and processes that look for development for human service, as well as for
a equitable distribution of cultural, technological and scientific products.

In another example of regional work in areas of cultural and educational interest, the Convenio
Andrs Bello CAB- (Andrs Bello Agreement) provides cooperation and technical assistance
services to public and private entities in all its member countries: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba,
Ecuador, Spain, Mxico, Panam, Paraguay, Per and Venezuela. Thanks to these agreements,
those entities receive: cooperation contributions and technical assistance, swiftness in project
execution, tax benefits, direct benefits for personnel with service contracts, technical support,
financial yields, help to allocate interinstitutional funds and to receive resources from
international donors, support to generate special reports for control organisms, specialized
management of files and timely execution of budgets.
Executive Secretary of CAB (SECAB) is the higher administrative and executive organ of CAB; its
headquarters are located in Bogot, Colombia and as part of undertaken academic actions,
specifically in the engineering field, it has proposals of curricular unification that have been
transformed into exemplary models for some higher education institutions of countries,
members of the Agreement.

Asociacin Universitaria Iberoamericana de Postgrado.AUIP. (Iberoamerican postgraduate


university association). This is an international, non- Governmental organism7 recognized by
UNESCO, dedicated to promotion of postgraduate and doctoral studies in Iberoamerica. AUIP is
formed by more than a hundred higher education institutions of Spain, Portugal, Latin America
and the Caribbean, offering thousands of postgraduate programs in almost every field of
knowledge. AUIP provides information and publicity services about postgraduate programs in
offer; it collaborates in external and internal evaluation processes, it helps the interchange and
mobility of lecturers and students, it promotes academic work and research through excellence
centers networks in different knowledge fields; it supports academic and scientific events
clearly related to advanced formation and it organizes itinerant courses in topics of interest to
faculty members and heads of postgraduate and doctoral programs.
AUIP is governed by a Superior Council formed by the Heads of every associated institution and
an Executive Commission, as collective bodies. The staff is composed of a President, elected by
the Superior Council, a General Director in the Central Headquarters in Salamanca and Regional
Directors in Sao Paulo, Cali, La Habana, Mrida (Venezuela), Mxico (D. F.), Lima, Madrid,
Barcelona, Granada, Pamplona and Santiago de Compostela.
Red Iberoamericana para la Acreditacin de la Calidad de la Educacin Superior. RIACES.
(Iberoamerican Network for Higher Education Quality Accreditation)8. It was formally founded in
Buenos Aires in May 2003. It is an association of agencies and organisms for evaluation and
quality accreditation of higher education. The network does not look for profit, it is independent
of any State and its members have to have recognized competences by their governments or
states, in this field. The objectives of the network are to promote cooperation and exchange
among Iberoamerican countries, in matters concerning evaluation and accreditation higher
education quality, contributing in this way to guarantee higher education quality in those
countries.
Network organisms are the General Assembly, the Directive Committee (with seven members,
which today are: ANECA from Spain, CCA from Central America, CNA from Colombia, CNAP from
Chile, CONEAU from Argentina, COPAES from Mxico and JAN from Cuba). CONEAU has the
Presidency of the network and ANECA the Secretary. For the ordinary performance, the
organization also has a Technical Coordination Office that is held today by ANECA. CONEA from
Ecuador belongs to the Directive Committee as invited member until the celebration of the III
Assembly of RIACES, in Quito (Ecuador) on March 17h, 2006.

3. Engineering: Universal rigor and demands


7

AUIP is a private institution, without profit purposes, financed by contributions of associated institutions, extraordinary resources
obtained through the international negotiation capabilities that the network has and grants from Junta de Castilla y Len
www.auip.org
8

www.riaces.net

Engineering products are increasingly complex and- due to their social, environmental and
economic effects they demand engineers educated to conceive, formulate, design,
manufacture, operate, maintain and renew them, using scientific and technological advances in
the solution of problems with continuous expansion in magnitude and reach. Twenty first
century engineers have to face increasing social needs of infrastructure, communications,
supply of goods and service provision, using more complex and universal processes and
systems, every day.
These demands ask for an education enabling them to work in environments based on a
permanently expanding scientific and technological dynamics. Only through a solid scientific,
technological and professional formation built on student exposure to Basic Sciences and to the
most advanced technological expressions they will be allowed to get the new knowledge
developed by science and to critically select applications with the largest positive impact for life
quality of society.
Basic knowledge on Mathematics and sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology) is the
best support for an efficient subsequent application of technological and instrumental tools of
engineering. To attend to these responsibilities, society as a whole- but specially the productive
sector and those responsible of engineering education- are asking for the inclusion and
development within academic programs of concepts such as: project approach, integral
thought, communication abilities, formation for team work, self formation capability and
personal improvement decisions taking permanent evaluation as a basis.
Engineering formation and the subsequent professional behavior have to recognize the dynamic
and complex nature of the demands of the environment and they have to value the importance
of cooperation, mobility and the flow of products and services. Engineering formation has to
promote a type of knowledge that results essential for local, regional or national development.
It is the commitment to characterization and recognition of our own territory, to identify and
make visible the innovation and productivity networks, that can be built from existing resources
and the scientific and technological capacity available. It is a real fact that social debt due to this
factor is sensibly reduced as far as engineers formation and their professional exercise,
approximate to the identification and solution of needs and creative and innovative exploitation
of local, regional and national opportunities.
Iberoamerican engineering has to be supplied with the necessary instruments to approximate to
world transformations avoiding the increase in the lag of the most vulnerable societies of the
region. The differences- normally increased for the disadvantage of the socially and
economically weakest areas- have to be taken care of with flexible and creative criteria of
leveling for development, considering that construction of networks of commercial, financial,
scientific and technological interactivity demand new strategies, they ask for creativity and urge
for results applicable to the social needs with efficiency and flexibility criteria.

The need for real time knowledge to incorporate innovations to development strategies; access
to databases updated with the most qualified universal contributions and continued education
of graduates, demand, among the most important features, a continuous and swift activity,
necessary to synchronize engineers formation to scientific and technological changes with the
goal of promoting local knowledge production.
Speed of formation processes has multiplied with the enormous pressure of science and
technology on the weakened academic and professional frontiers. Complexity, and the always
increasing dynamism of the knowledge mobility forms, multiplies network and research group
importance to generate knowledge and to help development in terms of increasingly urgent
timing.
Engineering formation programs-due to the nature of their material provision and practical
developments -are confronted to special threats increased by labor market instability and
swinging of project financial support. Uncertainty of the professional horizon reinforce the
convenience of preparing students in the discovery and appropriation of basic concepts that
enable them to successfully face the changes introduced in procedures and instruments,
necessary for the professional performance, and allow them to act as qualified consumers of
educational system products, through continuous education and postgraduate studies offers.
Self-education capability- support of lifelong learning - and flexibility to accept permanent
nature of changes are part of the needs of formation of the new generations of engineers, to
respond to the acceleration of knowledge increase, the obsolescence of professional tasks; geoeconomic orientation, environment protection and demands for democratic participation and
sustained development.
In the permanent formation process, engineers will find that mass consumption of educational
products and the efforts to give specialized information to each person as a function of
professional age, development level and previous knowledge, are faced with increasing solvency
through networks including television channels dedicated to scientific and technological
knowledge spreading, special web portals dedicated to education, electronic magazines,
simulators and virtual laboratories access.
Society priorities determine engineering priorities and, of course, they are considerable
magnitude influences on engineering formation. Engineering conception as a societal service, in
opposition to engineering as a business, has to be strongly implanted on students. In this sense,
the combination of the speech and the example- that can result from the contact between
students and lecturers, staff, managers and graduates of clean curriculum vitae and clear social
conduct- is fundamental.
Engineering formation has to enhance their ability and competence to identify, prepare,
develop and evaluate successful projects and competitive and sustainable engineering services.
Engineers have to prepare themselves rigorously to conceive, to design, to project, and to
analyze systems, products and processes; and also to plan, to supervise, to direct, to elaborate

and to coordinate systems, components and processes to satisfy in a realistic way social needs
and expectations and also to take advantage of development opportunities. Engineers have to
be especially keen to design, which is to identify efficient solution alternatives for weakly
determined problems, in an environment of scarce information, urge of solutions and resource
limitations.
Engineers have to develop, along their formative process, the ability to design, to project, to
conduct and to evaluate experiments as part of innovation and scientific and technological
development activities. Engineers ability to interpret results, to learn from experience, theirs
and others; to locate, to select, to validate and to use information - counting on informatics and
telecommunications technologies to reinforce their own judgment -will be of paramount
importance.
Engineering has an extremely huge responsibility because, virtually, every one of its actions is
deeply involved with environment and, consequently, it has to respond to society for the effects
of its processes, products and residues. Engineers face the challenge to transform the world
without destroying it, they have to include the lasting effects of their objects in their designs
and calculations; they have to materialize social wants of a sustainable and convivial
relationship with environment.
The region is scenery of important urban developments; it houses some mega cities that pose
new design, construction, operation, infrastructure maintenance, and equipment, furnishing
and service exigencies. The physical exuberance of the region is balanced by extraordinary
natural threats that add to risks of anthropic origin.
The region is vulnerable, due to infrastructure deficiencies as well as by the economic weakness
of the communities. This vulnerability is even more notorious when it is taken into account that
natural and anthropic threats easily overflow the best equipped from the technological and
economic point of view- forecasts and they subject, even the inhabitants of developed
countries, to critical episodes9.

4. Reach of the academic commitment


Engineering is the main channel of diffusion of advances and achievements of science and
technology in a context constituted by political decisions, economic constraints, cultural
demands and social pressures, defined- among other factors- by the general level of the
educational system, governmental interests, and general living conditions of society. Because
engineering is responsible of the physical support of development, it constitutes a group of
processes of multiple dimensions that has an effect, of dynamic and complex nature, on society.
Engineering builds local, national and regional development support by means of decisions that
identify, prepare and mobilize huge society resources.
9

Hurricane Katrina (2005) consequences on urban infrastructure and protective structures generated a process of reflection of
north American society on engineering responsibilities, not only concerning technological competences but from a civic and ethic
point of view.

Costly efforts, necessary for education of qualified engineers and the responsible exercise of
engineering, have to be reflected on favorable results for society expectations and needs,
specially for those related to life quality of a considerable part of population in so sensitive
areas like potable water supply, housing construction and basic sanitation deployment, energy
and communications infrastructure, physical and logistics support for production and
distribution of goods and services.
Engineering projects are recognized as adequate instruments for purposes of identification of
resources investment options, public or private. Projects are also identified as elements of a
dynamic and complex system, exposed to changing political, cultural, technical, economic, social
and environmental demands.
The increasing interdisciplinary exercise characterizing professional engineering activities makes
it compulsory to deepen into the recognition and valuation of relationships of engineering with
other disciplines and professions, encouraging the interest towards the economic approach of
resources use and underlining the importance and convenience of projects as investment
mechanisms, adequate to look for high quality of the results by means of a solid ethic founding
and a very demanding managerial handling within planned time limits and with well defined
criteria of viability, profitability and sustainability.
Dynamics of knowledge and the out of proportion volume of information that is generated in
the world, in always shorter times, makes it compulsory for engineers to be formed to work in
interdisciplinary teams, which are international, and without any doubt multilingual. Cultural
richness of this perspective is proportional to the value added to society development by
opening to new learning and knowledge forms.
Engineering formation level in Iberoamerica has to include a technical component adequate to
allow mobility without restrictions, in conditions of competitiveness for professionals, favoring,
at the same time, a priority commitment with regional needs. Differences between countries
will certainly induce a flow from less developed areas to regional poles, favored by economic
crossroads, but the balance for the region has to be favorable due to talent mobility and
compromise.
Demands of globalization include levels of preparation, adaptation and performance that allow
taking advantage of new opportunities. This complex scenery of commitments requires
considering social responsibilities of engineering from the optic of the professional practice, as
well as from the academic interests point of view. It is very probable that, if there is insistence
in the separate evaluation of these two components, there will difficultly be a consolidation an
integral commitment with engineering quality in the region.
As a product of the international academic cooperation it is possible that there will be
opportunities to discuss standards for curricular foundations or their implications for
professional exercise. In any case, it has to be considered that engineering in the countries of

the region has double commitment to attend demands born from participation in world market
and simultaneously to solve swiftly, and in a creative way, basic material problems of national
societies.
Engineering has to promote technological links that allow to bridge the gaps, and to be
instruments for improvement and growth. It has to show itself as source of sustainable and
large social impact projects as the source, by excellence, of added value, innovation and
development. Engineers have to act always guided by obedience to law and social life
regulations, including those that have to deal with prevention, hygiene and job safety.

The huge strategic value of sustained action


When society is confronted with major size problems, it normally transits a three stages
sequence: indifference, symbolism and action. In particular, when a extreme situation happens,
after the predominant inertial indifference is overcome a reflection and commitments many
of them rhetoric - period happens that include, in the case of higher education institutions,
reactions such as: coursification of problems, i.e. the inclusion of new subjects or courses in
the study plans; expedition of norms and regulations; formation of commissions and office and
specialized departments creation.
In the symbolism period, declarations and improvement commitments flourish, in spite of
which, things can return to a new indifference period without the trace of any permanent action
to avoid reappearance of crisis or anomalies. In the case of problems associated to engineering,
a singular effort has to be exerted both with speech and with example, to attain rigor,
seriousness, clearness and neatness in every expression of professional exercise, and, of course,
in the formation process of new engineers.
Iberoamerican engineers- not only because of their high technical condition, but also because of
their prominence within society have to promote the design, development and conclusion of
successful projects, and also to promote the creation of firms with high technological
component, designed and operated with efficiency and sustainability criteria that - besides their
help in the generation of jobs- can give impulse to the beginning of technical formation, they
can identify new research and development areas; and they can work significantly in the
improvement of life conditions of the whole society.
From a conceptual proposal of social pedagogy, engineering from the very classroom has to
be a permanent example of responsibility in deadline and budget compliance and in good
judgment for assessment and definition of capabilities and performance of people, systems,
processes, machines and equipment. The demonstration effect in the rigorous formation of
engineers and its responsible exercise in the region are essential factors to impulse new
perspectives in society about the role of science and technology.
A community endorsing their engineers is one of the best added values of the correct exercise
of the profession. Confidence and social support are key factors to improve the participation
possibilities of engineers in local, national and regional projects. In the same way, it is important

to reach political backing based on quality of the work to overcome fears of resource
assignation and to improve the negotiation capability of local firms that are wishing to
participate in projects of considerable interest and magnitude.

Demands, discipline and rigor


Twenty first century engineers face new infrastructure, goods and services social needs, within
ever increasingly complex and global processes and systems that demand basic restructuring in
the formation they get. For this purpose new basis are required to work in complex
environments with a dynamic collection of ever expanding needs in political, social, cultural,
economic and environmental conditions that will require sensibly different levels of flexibility,
understanding and team work, from those that historically have oriented engineers
performance. Responsible formation of new engineers has to emphasize in the rigorous and
neat management of social resources and in the seriousness of acquired obligations in projects
and works.
To address these responsibilities higher education has to prepare individuals, independent of
their discipline or profession, for the world of life and not only for one of its dimensions, no
matter how important it is. The transforming action for which engineers have to be prepared
cannot be converted only in labor action. Equilibrium between academic values and medium
demands can be the difference between a formation that is in harmony with society and
knowledge, and another that put its mission under demands of competent labor force to
improve company efficiency and raise its performance indexes.
Engineers have to reach society with achievements of science and technology and with the
assessment of the effects of those attainments. To this end, engineers have to be capable of
working jointly with different disciplines and professions and they have to have the formation
that allow them to establish the connections needed to identify, to propose, to design creative
solutions for the ever changing problems that society faces. Engineering, apart from the social
commitment of its professionals, includes the responsibility for permanent updating,
rationalization of decisions and environmental sustainability of products, goods, processes and
services. Without scientific foundations, dialogue with their peers around the world, solvency in
design and careful exercise, regional development expectations will hardly be satisfied and
investments of personal, familiar and social resources in engineers formation will not be
corresponded with desirable recognition and support.
Engineering programs and engineers in exercise have to accept the need to help in the building
of a society with better life conditions and consequently with better opportunities to meet the
development demands and international competence. Very important variables like research
investments, public confidence in postgraduate programs of the highest level, seriousness and
pertinence of continuing education offers, depend on the improvement of academic and
professional conditions in which engineering works.

There are professional responsibilities of engineers, not only, with their personal development
and promotion, but also with the planning, conduction, management and control of firms and
organizations, private and public. Management duties suppose for engineers a high level form
of professional exercise; they are scenery to display initiative and leadership features that have
to characterize their actions. Due to their scientific foundations, knowledge in economic fields
and their social commitment, engineers are paradigms for the community and their successful
examples form an important professional and technological patrimony for the social group.
In the same token, engineers have to prepare themselves with special care for educational
activities in engineering. Responsibility to form new colleagues has to be faced with special
devotion, because of the strong repercussions that this activity has in the quality of the
profession and in its credibility in front of society. Engineers formation has to provide the
necessary elements to promote study and permanent preparation as irreplaceable means of
personal promotion and academic and professional improvement.

Formation for leadership and political participation


The purpose of an integral formation is- in the last instance- the recognition of the multiple
dimensions and domains of human beings, prepared for any activity with no obstacles to their
potential posed by any specialization, without giving special privilege to some knowledge
instead of another, without biasing their formation in any sense. As a way to avoid limitations of
the technician, the professional or the specialist, this political function has to be directed to
strengthen an attitude of permanent commitment to society by those which are authors,
intellectual and material, of the physical growth that supports development.
The political attitude that has to be encouraged in engineers in formation will favor their
qualified presence in sceneries where topics- of interest to society, to the profession or to
engineers as professionals and as citizens- are debated; and also in those forums and
negotiations that produce new commercial agreements that can influence production models
and distribution channels of goods and services that engineering and engineers help to design
and manufacture.

Bridging of the gaps


Engineering contributions to society cannot be reduced to only those associated to construction
of materials goods, infrastructure works or to provide services. In addition to that, reduction of
the many dimensions of the scientific and technological gaps is a central responsibility of
engineers. To reach development levels to serve joint society interests it is urgent to look for
instruments to intervene science and technology in the social system to overcome the
limitations of the models used up to this moment. Engineering participation in the design of
those models has not been specially vigorous or persistent in the region.
The main commitment of regional engineering shows science and technology as allies of society
in its expectations to overcome the distance that put it apart from other communities which
quality and conditions of life are only distant references. Engineering has to promote the

technological links that will allow to bridge those gaps and in this way to be an instrument for
the improvement and growth, to be generator of sustainable and high social impact projects, to
be the main source of added value of innovation and development.
Development strategies, cultural value appropriation and identification, evaluation and use of
local resources need the presence of engineering strong enough to face with solvency the
diverse world transformations which have been accelerated during the last decades. From
those transformations there are two especially important due to the challenges they pose to
engineering. The first one is the so called scientific- technological revolution, resulting from the
convergence of science and technology in a diffuse zone where interaction is immediate and
very dynamic; these revolution demands -on the countries that wish to participate with strength
in the innovation and development chain- local production of scientific knowledge.
The second is the vanishing of national frontiers for higher education and, of course, for
engineering and other specifics knowledge services. The complexity, dynamism and open
asymmetry of the forms of knowledge mobility, make obligatory to carefully examine the
pertinence and the social effects of the offer of postgraduate, continuing education, distance
learning and virtual education programs.

Ethic commitment and formation in values


Engineering is a wide impact exercise affecting economic resources of society and, just for that
reason; engineers are exposed to ever growing temptations of corruption and immorality
associated to projects that handle very huge financial resources. Only a solid ethic foundationas part of integral formation- can avoid that engineering exercise can be sadly associated with
fraudulent episodes that, besides, stay in the collective memory outshining technological
achievements.
Linking engineering formation programs to projects and initiatives of the external sector makes
necessary to establish cooperation mechanisms interesting for both parts and source of added
value for society. Determination of clear rules for this cooperation is imperative, because in the
process of getting closer, tensions arise -between academics and agents of the external sectorabout indicators, accreditation processes and improvement models applicable to formation
tasks.

5. Elements for an action plan


Determination of essential features of the engineer with Iberoamerican signature is
fundamental for two basic purposes of integration:
-The creation of a common Iberoamerican space of engineering education that makes easier the
adoption of agreements about engineering curriculum designs substantially equivalent,
sensitive to differences and characteristics belonging to each one of the countries, but
conceived as mechanisms for the recognition and equivalence of titles.

-To establish agreements that favor academic mobility, the search for integration lines to face
the problems shared, due to the Iberoamerican reality, and the identification and eventual
adoption of curricular structures with common central elements to facilitate compatible
evaluations among different countries.
In a document prepared for ASIBEI by Professor Marcelo Antonio Sobrevila10 a definition of
Iberoamerican engineer is proposed as a beginning point. This definition can be adopted in the
general character of its terms, maybe with a stronger emphasis on commitment with regional
development and with a permanent formation through an educational continuum formed by
the intelligent articulation of undergraduate programs with postgraduate offers.
Engineering formation in Iberoamerica has to be ruled by principles of rigor and demands
identical to those used in any country or region of the world with tradition and recognition of
the quality of their engineers. It is not in the technical component where differential factors can
be found; on the contrary, in this component Iberoamerican engineer has to be decisively
universal, and from this perspective, engineer will have to be prepared to exercise the
profession with capacity and competence in any place of the world.
The emphasis in characterization has to be located, then, in the context that can be given to
engineering formation. For this purpose a formidable effort by institutions and higher education
programs will be necessary. Knowledge of culture, resources, expectancies and needs of the
region has to be included in curricular design, jointly with strategies and resources that allow
giving shape to the discourse of identification of engineers, in formation and exercise, with the
Iberoamerican reality. Of course, the world is the general reference, but commitment with the
region and its development has to be a compulsory stage within professional development
plans and in the institutional mission of universities and programs.
As it has been suggested in different meetings and academic forums promoted by ASIBEI, it is
necessary to reach to basic agreements in the design of programs and to make possible
common elements that could help students, lecturers and researchers mobility. Some of the
identified agreements deal with:
-Admittance policies for new students. It is convenient to have tests designed and applied
according to respective national educational context, but made adequate to determine
minimum basic knowledge levels of students, adapted to the region. This diagnostic tools will
serve for the design of curricular policies of the universities concerned and they will be useful
instruments to improve the forecasting capacity of the performance of students, in such a way
that they allow to guide them from the admission itself and at the same time supporting
institutional actions to reduce desertion and repetition indices.

10

Sobrevila, M. (2003). Cultura, profesin y acreditacin del Ingeniero Iberoamericano (Culture, profession and accreditation of
Iberoamerican Engineer). Published by ASIBEI, Bogot

Latin America is confronted to a significant gap between educational basic and medium
formation levels and the minimum demands to deal successfully with engineering studies. In
consequence, universities have to choose between restrictions to access using selective and
excluding tests and implementation of propaedeutic measures to try reducing the previous
formative deficit, which is an expression of disadvantage in cultural capital. From institutional
convenience point of view, especially from the optics of performance and efficiency indices, the
first option is more attractive, but if social responsibility of higher education institutions is
considered, second option is more beneficial. This disjunctive has to be weighted with academic
equity criteria in the design of admission processes to engineering programs for new students.
-Relationships with previous levels of the educational system. It is necessary that governments
and higher education institutions guide efforts and resources to quality assurance in basic and
medium levels, as part of the strategies of articulation with higher education to establish an
evaluation model considering national educational systems as a whole and to make easier
results homologation in the Latin-American context.
-Development of indices. It is important to define and develop common indices which can serve
not only to make regional diagnoses but mainly to detect causes of curricular problems of each
institution and to adopt strategies to overcome them. This approach should be systemic and the
group of indices should include the context, to elaborate valid diagnoses to make strategic
decisions. It is also desirable that evaluations include adequate qualitative aspects to capture
the complexity of the problems under study, as well as adequate strategies and instruments to
validate conclusions and to diffuse results.
Design of institutional improvement policies has to be based on plans formulated from self
evaluation processes that have to be gradually incorporated as an integral part of university
culture. Decisions have to be supported by diagnoses based on information, identified and
processed by academic communities. Indices have to reflect, without distortion, effects and
causes of problems and existent deficiencies. To improve the regional validity of diagnoses,
indices have to be developed to show the real causes and to reveal signs of advance and
improvement. The set of indices used has to consider the context in which they are valued, to
avoid that generalizations lead to stereotyped proposals that would not be well received in the
specific environment of institutions.
Complexity of the analyzed problems requires the incorporation of qualitative dimensions in
evaluations, and specific forms to validate conclusions. The instrumental and methodological
simplification can possibly make easier operative aspects of the processes but it can generate
important distortion effects in analysis and results.
- Use of academic credits. The use of academic credits in the design of curricular programs and
permanent revision and updating of contents and learning strategies in engineering programs
offered in the region are desirable practices. To facilitate comparison of curricular programs
and, therefore, the possibility of mobility, transfer and homologation, basic agreements have to

be sought, about proportions that the presential component and those components directed
and autonomous within credit definition.
-Nominal duration of engineering programs. In the evaluation and analysis of formation times,
particularities and conveniences of each country have to be considered, avoiding that pressures
from economic tendencies and occasional market requirements, will be determinant in the
definition of duration and characterization of the programs. Academic debate has to include,
among other important variables, consideration of existent conditions in basic and medium
education levels; unequal quality levels and development degrees of Faculties and Schools of
Engineering; international academic context in which the engineering formation process is
immersed; accreditation and quality assurance efforts in which the State, academic associations
and Higher Education Institutions coincide.
Any decision has to be the result of careful and complete comparison of academic pertinence,
social convenience and the real disposition of the state and of citizens to guarantee resources
that proposed changes demand. Analysis cannot forget the legal dimension of engineering
exercise, the labor market behavior, the engineering volume required by infrastructure and
productive installations development plans, technological tendencies and national strategies in
areas like food security, environmental management, compensation of sanitary debt and
natural or technological origin- disasters prevention.
Possible formation times reduction of engineers has to be the result of a series of adjustments
and processes that include, among others: serious institutional efforts to pay attention to
permanent formation and instruction for lecturers, both in disciplinary specialties and in
pedagogy, evaluation, counseling, and curricular design; administrative reorganization,
regulation actualization, physical adequation and modernization of resources to support
formation. The approximation of the real duration of studies to the nominal duration of
programs has to be an arrival point, consequence and result of agreed action which has to be
planned, sustained and permanently evaluated with participation of academic community of
the country and of the Iberoamerican region.
-Formation Alternatives: The use of modalities that facilitate access of young people to quality
programs using options like distance learning and virtual education has to be encouraged, but
only if they satisfy quality and pertinence requisites adopted with this aim, in the region. In any
case, an appropriate pedagogic climate has to be promoted for modalities different from
presential education; it is important to favor formation and instruction programs for lecturers,
technicians and assistants for the use of these formidable tools.
-Formation cycles. Permanent learning commitment makes it compulsory to define new
frontiers and obligations for different formation cycles and to accept that the complementary
role of the company in engineering formation demands to identify new conditions, strategies
and relation mechanisms between curricular programs and the external sector.

Engineering, apart of social commitment, includes responsibility for permanent updating,


rationalization of decisions and environmental sustainability of products, processes and
services. Without scientific foundations, interchange with their peers in the world, solvency in
the design and meticulous exercise, development expectative, will hardly be satisfied and the
investment of personal, familiar and social resources will not be responded by reckoning and
backing of society.
Within a formation scheme in which there will not be undergraduates in the traditional sense
that this category has had in education, characteristics that have to be sought include: general
character and base amplitude of knowledge; skill to learn and commitment with continuous
learning; competence to solve design problems with open solutions and multidisciplinary
approach; leadership and communication skills even in a second language; competence in the
areas of administration, finances and economy; ability to integrate easily to design teams;
understanding of the relationship between engineering, development and society; ethic
foundations and esteem for values, culture and art; and the capacity to use the increasing
power of telecommunications and informatics tools.
-Evaluation and accreditation: It is fundamental to recognize and support the work being done
by accreditation organisms of Iberoamerican countries and it is desirable that ASIBEI
participates in a decisive way promoting or helping initiatives for the definition of criteria,
strategies, mechanisms and common instruments of quality assurance of education in
engineering in the region.
-Permanent improvement: Institutions and programs for engineers formation in Iberoamerica
have to decide to assure a place, within institutional culture, to practices of self evaluation and
permanent improvement, independent of the use that the results of those practices can have
within certification and accreditation processes. Within this scheme, improvement plans are an
irreplaceable element for academic and administrative management of programs, for this
reason it is imperative to agree and to communicate in the region principles to guide
preparation and developing of improvement plans useful for the purposes of qualification of
programs for engineers formation.
-Lecturers formation and interchange of pedagogic experiences: The need for lecturers with
better cultural background for higher education is urgent, due to the immense complexity of
social expectations and the speed with which new knowledge is produced. If in other times
spreading of knowledge was more difficult and it happened slowly, one of the defining
characteristics of our time is the enormous amount of information generated, and pressures
and interests to accelerate diffusion and commercialization. Readiness to learn of those arriving
to the university classrooms reinforce the perception that if there is enough time expent in the
organic link of students with lecturers, solvent in their specific knowledge and well formed to
guide their learning, there will be more probabilities of success for gestation inside the cultural
matrix provided by higher education.

Lecturers with a solid pedagogic preparation, as part of a vast culture and knowledge of the
socioeconomic medium, can certainly contribute to the objective to form individuals able to
learn by themselves and to act in the world scenery without forgetting local, national and
regional needs and voids. The new market demands put pressure on programs to form
competitive human beings which are flexible, able to conform to change, able to work within a
team and with useful skills to be sold in the labor world. With this conjunction of interests,
matureness and broad criterion of those in charge of guiding young people are more important
every day.
For the consolidation of an Iberoamerican proposal for engineers formation, it is necessary to
identify and recognize, within a climate of open and decided cooperation and solidarity, the
international tendencies; it is also necessary to strengthen the components of basic sciences,
engineering sciences, humanistic and economic administrative components; to investigate the
competences required by the future professional, taking into account the development needs of
our countries, the technological tendencies and, in particular, the distinctive characteristics of
the different types of engineer that it is necessary to form.
An action plan to realize ASIBEIs initiative has to be the result of agreements and analysis.
Operative conditions, deadlines, assignation of responsibilities, monitoring actions, to make the
project real, have to be the result of maturing of a process that call together important
representatives of Iberoamerican engineering. For the development of the project the main
actions to take are a group of strategies and programs for which the main features are shown in
the following lines, together with an invitation to realize them with all the celerity possible:

Strategies
-Conceptualization and context. It is essential for ASIBEI, as organizer and promoter of this
initiative of academic integration, to officially adopt, and share with the engineering
community, the principles on which this proposal, of an Iberoamerican engineer, is based.
This document intends to play the role of a balanced mixture of principle declaration and
intention letter, with the possibility to add new elements and considerations to reinforce the
character of consensus of the proposal.
-Visibility of the Association. Politic presence is a requirement to enhance success perspectives
of this initiative, or others. ASIBEI has to guide efforts, in the short term, to be recognized as
academic counterpart of educational authorities and professional associations in each country,
supported by national associations and institutions which are part of the association. These
actions can be good precedents to obtain the capacity to recognize and validate studies and
titles.
-Approach to the external sector to establish a permanent flow of information and resources
between academy and industry. This link has to serve to formulate advanced formation regional
projects and specially to guide continuing education programs offered to engineers in the
region. National and regional University -Enterprise Meetings are adequate sceneries for this
cooperation. From them concrete actions of cooperation and interchange can be generated.

-Collaboration with secondary educational level to introduce improvements in the input


conditions of students to engineering programs. Joint academic projects between Basic Sciences
teachers of engineering programs and teachers of the last years of secondary school can
introduce significant improvements in the academic level of engineering students in the region.
-Guidance for curricular design and management. Without going against institutions and
programs, the Association has to motivate permanent discussion about criteria of flexibility,
methodological alternatives, educators formation, strategies and instruments of evaluation and
indexes; this guidance will be supported by the experience and help of associations and
institutions inside the Association.
-Cooperation with national, regional and international organizations with interests in the
improvement and qualification of engineering education with Iberoamerican vision.

Programs
Strategies can be realized through programs, projects and activities which could lead countries
in the region to cooperate with the initiative Iberoamerican Engineer. Drafts of some specific
programs are shown in the following paragraphs.
-Mobility of students and educators. Educational goods and services flow.
Design of actions is shown by factors affecting the program:
Factors that favor mobility
.Academic complementarities, derived from differences in programs
.Diversity in learning models
.Alternatives for education
.Interest in cultural approach
.Advantages of technological diversity
.Existence of support networks (international relations offices in higher education institutions).
.Existence of logistic facilities (hostels, special lodging programs, transportation, scholarships,
national programs of mobility)
Factors against mobility projects
.Financial problems
.Consular restrictions and Visas
.Labor of students
.Affective and familiar links (especially at the postgraduate level, where the number of married
students that dont want to travel without their families is large)
Consolidation of the Iberoamerican Engineer Project needs the combination of actions with the
purpose of enhancing the factors that help mobility and of those necessary to reduce the
factors that weaken mobility.

-Selection, instruction and permanent evaluation of academic peers (external evaluators) as a


support to a regional program of quality assurance in the engineers formation programs.
-Support to the national accreditation systems and impulse to the formation of research
networks in the area of engineering education. In educators formation is important to take into
account the impact of regulatory decisions that affect the educational exercise; it is also
important to improve the acceptance among directives of engineering programs of
postgraduate studies in education as part of the integral formation of the lecturer. Engineers
need to question their knowledge, their history, and the social, economic and environmental
impact of their work. Doctoral programs in education existent in the country do not include
engineering as a research area; therefore, it is convenient to propose at those levels research
programs in pedagogy and didactics of engineering and postgraduate programs for the
formation of engineering educators.
-Systematic organization and interchange of pedagogic experiences in engineering as support to
improvement and qualification in the area. Educational authorities have to recognize the need
and convenience of promoting serious and sustained programs of formation of lecturers for
engineering programs as an intelligent investment in development of the country. The strategic
role of engineering in plans for improvement of life level of society or in the attention given to
international pacts is not under discussion and, for that reason; it seems convenient to promote
the strengthening of the pedagogic component in a process that up to now has concentrated
forces in the spread of coverage.
Higher education institutions and engineering programs related to them have to concentrate
efforts in their development plans to examine in a critical way their procedures for selection,
contracting, evaluation and promotion of educators. Results of self evaluation processes- that
most of the institutions and programs have developed in the last decade- will surely serve to
assess the magnitude and urgency to adopt formation and support regulations for the
improvements of the pedagogic component which is crucial for quality assurance in engineering
education.
Lecturers, their associations and academic groups have to recognize in their agendas the
importance of thought and discussion of pedagogic questions. Perception of that importance
has improved and efforts have increased many of them of individuals, with sacrifice of
personal resources to have a better quality of pedagogic tasks. However, it is worth reckoning
that engineering formation is an exercise which goes beyond isolated visions of the pedagogic
problem and it requires an approach in which external pressures and extra academic interestsunavoidable in a social task of that magnitude- are included.
Integral evaluation of students, lecturers, courses, programs and institutions is an unavoidable
condition to support offers of integral formation. The use of evaluation results with positive
criterion and constructive aim is a pending task in engineering educators preparation.
Interchange of pedagogic experiences in engineering is a healthy mechanism to promote quality
education and, therefore, it stress the convenience of creating and strengthening intersection

points to favor life experiences encounters in interdisciplinary sceneries of work where


academic discussion value is given renewed importance and priority of institutions and
programs is rescued.
This type of pedagogic exercise does not have in the agenda of the government or of the
university directors- effective backing in sustainable politics for educators formation for higher
education in the region. It is very important to create an Iberoamerican Program for Engineering
Educators Formation supported structurally and functionally on existing national initiatives, as a
firm base for qualification of engineering education in the countries of the region. One very
important aspect in the preparation of engineering educators will be the acceptance of their
social responsibility in the formation of professionals with the characteristics and attributes
expected for the Iberoamerican engineer.
-Design and commencement of specific curricular proposals
One important academic incentive to give impulse to the initiative is to adopt, in a short term,
some specific curricular activities that can be reproduced in the countries of the region and
from which cooperation projects of a major extent can be structured. Design of an
Iberoamerican Chair on Engineering History or on engineering pedagogy could be object of an
approximation by national associations of Faculties and Schools of Engineering. Activities like
Regional Workshops about common interest topics that can be validated as curricular activities
in different countries and the creation of a web portal to support, among other products and
services, virtual Laboratories to help in engineering education, could be equally attractive; the
creation of a regional prize to research or works related to engineering education with
Iberoamerican approach and the support of degree works and research thesis, inspired in the
spirit of ASIBEIs initiative.