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Making a Case for an Interdisciplinary Approach to Water Education Towards Sustainable Development

Author(s): Modupe Olufunmilayo Jimoh

Linked Author(s): Modupe Olufunmilayo Jimoh

Keywords: Capacity development; Engineering education; Interdisciplinary; Sustainable development; Water education

Abstract: Traditional engineering education has focused on design principles and the integrity of products. It includes the designs for water supply and sanitation systems, water resources management, hydraulic structures, to name a few. However, this approach has led to a gap in design and implementation, leading to challenges in product uptake and sustainability. Water is central to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), creating a web between the technical, environmental, social, financial, policy, and governance subsectors. Water engineers are critical to attaining the SDG goals; therefore, they must be trained to acquire the skills required for the task. For example, the WASH humanitarian sector has reiterated that the lack of the right expertise has been a bane to the delivery of interventions. Sustainable water projects must incorporate techno-centric, eco-centric, and Socio-centric concerns. A redirection of the water syllabus to include all the necessary aspects is the step towards transferring and acquiring the required skills. Content review is critical when water education sits within a civil engineering program. This paper presents calls for interdisciplinary engineering education from literature. It highlights the benefits of interdisciplinary water engineering education. The paper also provides approaches taken by the author to design and deliver interdisciplinary water modules and feedback from the students on each of the approaches. Overall, advocates for educators, universities, and training institutes to produce graduates who understand water engineers' dependence on other sectors for successful and more-sustainable solutions for society.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3850/IAHR-39WC2521711920221717

Year: 2022

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