Last month an interview with IDEA League’s Secretary-General, Willemijn Dicke, appeared in Dutch National newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’. The reason for this interview was the publication of a statement from the IDEA League about the lack of high-ranking civil servants and politicians with an degree in engineering in the Netherlands.
The IDEA League’s joint activities in education, such as the Summer Schools and the Joint Master’s Applied Geophysics, might be the most visible part of the organisation, but behind the scenes the IDEA League office does a lot of research into issues related to universities of science and technology. While researching the amount of high-ranking civil servants and politicians with an degree in engineering in the Netherlands the IDEA League Office found that there were surprisingly few engineers involved in government. Only one in ten high-ranking civil servants has an engineering degree, while, at the same time, our society and its problems and solutions become more and more dependent on technology. The IDEA League office believes that involving more engineers in government could help create a better understanding of such problems and enrich the policy-making process. In this age of technology we, more than ever, need experienced and advised policy-makers with a strong background in engineering.
However, in the interview, Willemijn Dicke stresses that ‘Engineer quotas’ might not be the best way to involve more engineers in government. Instead, she advises the Dutch government to more explicitly recruit engineers for high-ranking civil servant functions and make these functions more attractive for engineers.
Read the full interview here (Dutch only).