First AECEF International Symposium
Education for Civil and Environmental Engineering and Surveying
Prague, September 25 - 27, 1995

by Professor Josef Machacek,
Chairman of the Symposium, Organising Committee

The Association of European Civil Engineering Faculties with the participation of civil engineering faculties from non-European countries (AECEF) was established in 1992. It has become an important international body comprising 39 civil engineering faculties and departments from all over Europe, Canada and the USA. The main concerns of the Association are : preparation of future civil engineers, mutual respect between faculties from various countries, and international co-operation.

In September 1995 the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Prague hosted the First International Symposium and the Association's First AECEF General Assembly. The Symposium enjoyed extraordinary interest : its 77 registered participants came from 20 countries (Australia, Belarus, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Rumania, Russia, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden , Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the USA). Among participants there were mostly faculty representatives holding high posts (11 deans and rectors).

The Symposium proceeded in 5 sessions devoted to pedagogy at civil engineering universities, aimed namely at the latest trends in the training of civil engineers for the 21st century. Four key papers of a high level have been presented :

In all, 33 papers have been delivered, among them many offering solutions to the most essential issues of the education of engineers of a new generation. They have stressed the need of the building industry's impact on the formation of engineers, the necessary support to universities on the part of prominent companies, as well as the mutual links between university studies and practical life. A number of papers concentrated on study systems, study programmes, and new approaches to learning.

The final lively discussion brought up other issues as well: such as the change in the opinion on the qualifications of a modern engineer; the necessary strategic changes in engineering training; the need for the evaluation of universities; the usage of computers, etc., which will become the subject of following AECEF conferences.

The whole event has raised a highly positive response. For the majority of participants the professional programme was of great interest. It may be presumed that the results of the Symposium will be projected in a quality improvement of the teaching process, the exchange of students and teachers between universities associated within AECEF, and in the general profile of university graduates. The accompanying social programme was found to be very interesting, and from to the feedback which is still coming in, the event has proved to be effective.

The Symposium's success was based not only on good organisation, but also on the support by Czech civil engineering firms. Here we should acknowledge the following prominent civil engineering companies : Armabeton a.s., Dalnicni stavby a.s., Stavby silnic a zeleznic a.s., Vodni stavby Praha a.s.

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