Fewer engineering students despite investing in more

In 2018, the government invested heavily in getting more people to apply for engineering educations. But few colleges and universities have reached the goals, shows a review from the National Audit Office. One reason may be the low search pressure.

It has now been almost three years since the government commissioned a number of universities and colleges to arrange more training places in certain shortages, including engineering.

The National Audit Office has now examined the results of the investment, and it turns out that it has not gone as planned. When it comes to master’s degree programs in engineering, eight higher education institutions were commissioned to have 1,000 more full-time students by 2023, compared with 2017. By 2019, they would be 250 more.

But the result was the opposite. In 2019, the master’s degree programs had a total of 58 fewer students than in 2017. Only three of the eight higher education institutions reached the goal, reports The engineer.

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Low search pressure makes it difficult

For the educations to a university engineer, the assignment was broader, and was aimed at 18 colleges and universities that would have 600 more full-time students by 2021. But by 2019, the number of full-time students had decreased at 11 of 18 higher education institutions.

According to the review, a major problem is that it is difficult to increase the number of students, partly due to low application pressure. This problem especially applies to educations for a university engineer. The government claims that it has taken into account the search pressure in the investment.

According to Keili Saluveer at the Swedish National Audit Office, this is remarkable because the university engineering programs have one of the lowest application pressures within the university and also very low throughput. She tells the Engineer.

– The low application pressure for university engineering programs has been confirmed by both the higher education institutions’ annual reports and in our interviews with them. In some engineering specializations, there is also a shortage of PhD staff and the higher education institutions compete both with each other and with the business community for such competence.

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It is unclear if there is a shortage of engineers

When the government decided which educations to invest extra in, forecasts were used for the needs of the labor market from, among others, Statistics Sweden. And they show a clear shortcoming when it comes to, for example, teachers and care staff. But whether there is a shortage of engineers is more unclear.

– When it comes to civil and university engineering educations, we have noted that there is a disagreement among various players in the technology industry. We can also see that the forecasts do not give as clear a picture of a shortage of engineers as for other occupational groups, says Keili Saluveer to Ingenjören.


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