Helena Trbušić

Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture - University of Zagreb
Zagreb, Croatia

INDECS 12(2), 108-118, 2014
DOI 10.7906/indecs.12.2.1
Full text available here.

Received: 15 February 2014
Accepted: 5 April 2014
Regular article


The continually changing, contemporary global society has been placing new demands on the engineering profession. The complexity of today's environmental, social and economic context has prompted engineering educators to call for a general reform in engineering education. While the common theme among this professional group is the necessity of reforming the engineering curriculum, how this should be done, and which changes are needed, is still a matter of contention. Non-technical content in engineering curricula has been implemented in order to address the perceived lack in competences when it comes to social or "soft-skills". However, certain proponents of reform, e.g. S. Beder, E. Conlon and H. Zandvoort [1-3], have voiced concerns regarding the focus on "soft-skills" and management competencies on the one hand, and a certain disregard for a broader understanding of non-technical knowledge for engineers on the other. This broader understanding implies teaching engineering students to take into consideration the relevant social context and contributing to the community in their daily practice of engineering.

The first part of this paper deals with the mentioned contentions within the engineering professional community. As an answer to the described dilemmas, the paper explores the necessities and possibilities of incorporating critical thinking into the engineering curriculum. The paper proposes a tentative implementation of P. Freire's humanist education in engineering education [4]. The possibilities of the pedagogy of critical consciousness have the capacity to move beyond the mentioned divisions by merging practical social skills (i. e. "soft skills") with involvement in the community.


engineering education, engineering ethics, critical consciousness


JEL:I21, I23

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