Recent reports have highlighted Australia’s declining results in PISA testing of maths, science and reading capabilities of children. Some in particular have drawn attention to Australia’s relatively weak performance compared with China and Singapore. I am unsure what this means. Should we invest more in maths and science education?
The Singaporean government is making it harder for foreigners to work there. International company people I meet in Singapore complain that young Singaporeans cannot perform as well as foreigners and demand too much pay, and the government is trying to force companies to employ more locals.
Read more: I argue that STEM is not the most important priority
“The Making of an Expert Engineer” was officially launched in Islamabad at the Serena Hotel on January 7th before a gathering of 120 engineers, engineering faculty, aspiring engineers, and friends. The Hon. Ms. Marvi Memon, Minister Chair of Benezir Bhutto Income Support Fund spoke about the potential impact of the research on the poorest 5.8 million people in Pakistan served by the fund. Lieutenant General (R) Syed Shujaat Hussein, former rector of National University of Science and Technology presided at the launch.
The event was sponsored by Close Comfort Air Conditioning
James Trevelyan speaking about the book – transcript of speech appears below.
In my last piece I pointed out some of the challenges for engineers in Pakistan. Yet each of those challenges is an opportunity for any engineer who is prepared to take advantage of them. Yes, water and power are far too expensive. However, reliably supplying water and power at a lower cost represents a huge commercial opportunity because ordinary people will happily pay for a high quality service that provides real economic value over the alternatives. Given that water is the equivalent of US$50-$150 per tonne today, supplying safe drinking water at $10 per tonne is a huge improvement.
Here’s an example, my own personal invention, mentioned in the book (Ch13). Air conditioning is unaffordable for the vast majority of Pakistan people because most Pakistan buildings are not insulated. Conventional air conditioning consumes large amounts of electricity. Too many people are using conventional air conditioners, leading to electricity load shedding. Continuous air conditioning requires a generator and the electricity cost (with fuel) for a typical room air conditioner is about 20,000 Rs or US$190 for one month.
Take a look at www.closecomfort.com.
This technology can provide similar comfort, running continuously through load shedding on a UPS, for about 1,200 Rs or US$12 monthly electricity cost which is much more affordable. The first production units will be on sale in Islamabad and Lahore in a couple of months time.
Challenges like climate change also represent a huge opportunity for engineers. Engineers can do more than almost any other occupational group, and can earn high rewards from grateful people at the same time.
Some of you may have wondered why there has been a little gap in my blog posts. I have been pre-occupied with visits to several countries.
My other major project, Close Comfort has developed very quickly with keen anticipation particularly in Pakistan where electricity supplies are subject to frequent interruptions due to load shedding. Pakistan’s electricity grid is struggling to keep up with demand for air conditioning, and I hope to be able to offer a sustainable solution, as explained in Chapter 13 of the book. Continue reading