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Education in Road Transport

26th March 1948, Page 25
26th March 1948
Page 25
Page 25, 26th March 1948 — Education in Road Transport
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

OAD transport, Some el the Probte although ancient in terms of years, is, compared with many other indus tries, young in development. Many of the older people in it, particularly on the operating. side, joined, it long before any comprehensive specialized training had been developed, and, like Topsy, they merely " growed," and learned in the hard school of experience.

On, the engineering side, as regards both production and maintenance, their position is not quite the sams.:.. General engineering was fairly advanced before the intensive growth of road transport, and the training received by engineers during their apprenticeships and later, was of considerable value in connection with what, to them, was only a branch of a big subject Admittedly, there were many more problems in details and the need for a much higher quality of workmanship involving limits far closer than anything with which they may have dealt previously, but it was more a process of adaptation than of intensive study.

In this sphere also many manufacturers maintain their own schools, which provide a technical education of a high standard. As a result, apprentices and learners from the works of vehicle makers and others frequently take over high positions, either in the companies with which they were trained or in others, not only in the manufacturing field, but in operating concerns.

Problems for the Learner For the young man who wishes to adopt road transport operation as his career, however, there are often considerable difficulties in obtaining the most useful form of education. He may start at the bottom with some operator, but few employers in this field are in a position to give great assistance in other than practical training.

This is why the work of the National Standing Joint Committee on Road Transport Education is so valuable Working in concert with the Royal Society of Arts, it has a strong membership representative of many associations covering not only operators but also technical institutions, and including representatives of the appropriate unions.

The Committee recently issued its second annual report covering the period from November, 1946, to December, 1947 Whilst this shows a certain amount of progress, it also indicates the considerable difficulties which have to be faced and if possible, overcome. Much of its work is carried out by local committees familiar with the needs and conditions in their areas, but many more of these are required if the educational facilities are to be properly arranged and satisfactory syllabuses instituted.

One of the main difficulties is the dearth of suitable text books. Even now one of the main sources Of information is the Trade and Technical Press connected with transport, and here the restrictions on paper, now, and probably for some time to come, limit the educational scope of such journals, so that often technical matters of a nature which should appeal to students must be cut to the bone, for the first duty of these journals is to provide news concerning developments either of the complete industry or important sections of it.

Shortage of Text Books It is rare to find men suitably equipped, from the points of view of education and experience, to write the types of text book which would be satisfactory. It is also unusual for those engaged in the industry to have much time available for such work, and whilst theory may be useful in its place it must, to be of real value, be accompanied by practical knowledge On the examination side, there is more advancement, the Royal Society of Arts having given great assistance in this matter and with the preparation of suitable syllabuses, but it is one thing to prepare the latter and another to have them carried out and to find qualified lecturers One particularly noteworthy point in the report is the low standard in English disclosed in the answers to questions. Many of the students showed considerable keenness and appeared to possess a fairly extensive knowledge of their subjects. but their main difficulty was to express themselves clearly and adequately. This seems to indicate some neglect in their, general education which needs rectifying, and which should not have to be covered in a 'curriculum intended to fit them for particular careers.

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