Key role of education

IEC reaches out to academia

By Claire Marchand

Today’s students will be tomorrow’s leaders and decision makers. Many will also join the ranks of the thousands of experts who work on standards development in a wide range of technical fields. Education about standardization is a key element that will help them shape their future.

Jack Sheldon, IEC Standardization Strategy Manager, outlined IEC initiatives to enhance the relationship with academia

Key role of education about standardization

While some countries, especially in Asia, have recognized the major role played by standards and integrated standardization in their college and university curriculums, many others are still lagging behind in this respect.

In recent years, several initiatives have helped promote dialogue between academia, industry, governments and the international standards community. One of them is the Academic Day organized annually by the WSC (World Standards Cooperation), a high-level group with representatives from the three world-leading standardization organizations: IEC, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union).

As in previous years, the 2012 WSC Academic Day was held in conjunction with the ICES(International Cooperation on Education about Standardization) conference. This year it took place in Bali, Indonesia, on 10-11 May 2012. Hosted by BSN, the National Standardization Agency of Indonesia, the event was attended by 213 participants from 30 countries and 30 speakers from 14 countries presented 33 papers.

Best practices and innovation on the agenda

Bambang Setiadi, Chairman of BSN and President of the Indonesian IEC NC (National Committee) welcomed all delegates and Djoko Santoso, Director General of Higher Education at the Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia, delivered the keynote address. 

The morning session of the ICES conference, on “Innovative examples on education about standardization”, began with a presentation by Professor Wilfried Hesser, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany, who talked about “E-learning – A challenge for teachers, their expertise and the innovative capacity of a university”. Professor Knut Blind, Technical University of Berlin, Germany, opened the afternoon module with a paper on the session’s topic: “Best practices on education about standardization”. Both lectures were followed by panel discussions involving high-level academics and researchers from all over the world.

WSC Academic Day

The WSC Academic Day started with an update on IEC, ISO and ITU initiatives aimed at supporting and promoting education about standardization in universities and academia’s involvement in standardization.

IEC Standardization Strategy Manager, Jack Sheldon, gave an update on IEC initiatives to enhance and expand the relationship with academia in business and management schools as well as engineering establishments.

IEC-IEEE Challenge

Sheldon presented the IEC-IEEE Challenge, a global competition on the theme: “How does electrotechnology impact economic, social and environmental development?” and open to academics. It invites the world’s academic institutions to analyze and debate the impact of electrotechnology on the economic, social and environmental development of nations and regions, including how the process is affected by accepted standards. The awards ceremony will be held at the IEC General Meeting in Oslo in October.

Tomorrow’s leaders

Sheldon then introduced the IEC Young Professionals Programme. Since 2010, the programme has brought together the world's upcoming expert engineers, technicians and managers. It provides them with opportunities to shape the future of international standardization and conformity assessment in the field of electrotechnology. Each year, IEC NCs select their young professionals who are then invited to attend a workshop during the IEC General Meeting. Here they can exchange thoughts and ideas with their peers and the wider IEC community, learn more about standardization and CA (Conformity Assessment) activities and experience the IEC in action.

Reaching out and disseminating information

Sheldon also chaired a session on “Progress with regional initiatives and on the dissemination of information about teaching materials at university level” in which several speakers outlined regional developments in this area.

The Academic Day’s final session focused on the need to develop a roadmap to promote education about standardization and enhance cooperation between SDOs (Standards Development bodies) and universities.

The outcome of these two days of high-level discussions was to develop strategies and action plans on education about standardization at national level, to establish an advisory group involving academia and representatives from government agencies, SDOs and industry and, more generally, to reinforce relationships between all entities. 

The next ICES conference and WSC Academic Day will take place on 12-14 June 2013 in Sophia Antipolis, France.

IMG_2956 Jack Sheldon, IEC Standardization Strategy Manager, outlined IEC initiatives to enhance the relationship with academia
IMG_2989 High-level discussions took place during the two-day event in Bali, Indonesia...
ICES2012-Participants-from_Indonesia ...for the benefit of an international audience