Granted, a certain amount of self-regulation is inevitable. For one thing, passing an examination and receiving a license to practice does not relieve engineers of their responsibility to continue building up their expertise throughout their careers by means of additional education and experience. As an example, it presumably takes a greater capability to design the structural, mechanical or electrical systems for a 100-story tower than to provide the same services for a single-story building.
If engineers are really the best judges of their own competence, why are they required to pass a COREN or NSE exam at all? If the test is simply meant to set the bar of minimum competence across the board,
Passing NSE or COREN is not an end to your professionalism, but a means. Once a person has passed the NSE or COREN exam. It is then completely up to that person to define his or her own limits of practice.
By definition a professional engineer is that engineer who has been licensed to practice on the basis of education, experience, and examination in a specific discipline or branch of engineering signifying the area in which the engineer has demonstrated competence.
The purpose of license is to identify those who have achieved the minimum level of competence to protect the public, not to differentiate those who have more advanced qualifications in a specialty. As a licensed professionals, engineers are legally bound by a code of ethics that explicitly requires them to perform services only within their competence.
This provision concisely captures why discipline among licensed engineers is needed to protect the safety, health and welfare of the public.
Once one become licensed professionals, how exactly can an engineers accurately determine their areas of competence so that they can conscientiously fulfill their obligation to stay within them?
The logical next step is for licensed engineers to be discipline-in their continuous professional development when it comes to actual practice, using the CPD that has been set up by the engineering bodies in different branches of NSE or its divisions.
Specialization is firmly an entrenched reality in the engineering profession today. Every discipline is becoming increasingly complex while overlapping less with others that may have been closely aligned with it in the past. Rather than bemoaning our self with the euphoria that comes with been licensed by COREN and assuming or pretending that continuous professional development (CPD) does not exist, engineers should acknowledge it and work to adapt the license laws accordingly to better the lot of the nation Nigeria in her quest for industrialization, economic growth and infrastructures which lies in the hands of the engineers.
Andrew Ezekwe (MNSE, PMP, C.Eng) is a young, talented and vibrant Registered, Chartered Engineer and a Certified Project Manager, who has over the years developed excellent communication skills, with efficient and good analytical skills in structural designs. Also, with vast experience in procurement, coordinating, supervising and managing of various construction projects; with the combination of technical and managerial skills in project delivery. He is currently the Managing Partner of Hanadex Consulting (RC:861936); a professional and multi-disciplinary engineering, project management & consulting firm with cutting edge in the built industry with experience project team, providing 361 degree project management solution, by going the extra mile.
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