A number of instruments were developed to gather the information required. These are available to download, modify and use as appropriate. They were developed for:
- Tertiary Education Institutions
- Engineering Organisations (employers)
- Voluntary Associations and Registering Bodies
Tertiary Education Institutions
It should be noted that very few countries have developed central tertiary education information systems. South Africa is the only country in the region where data have been available centrally for more than two decades. The higher education ministries in Angola and Mozambique have started compiling central data in recent years. During the course of the research, all countries were being encouraged to set up central systems. However, at the time, it was necessary to use the questionnaire and contact each institution – either the Registrar or the Engineering Dean. In some instances, individual institutions provided graduation data in their own formats. Whether using their own format or the questionnaires provided several were unable to answer all the questions. There is clearly a need for more comprehensive data to be collected and published centrally. The tertiary education institutions offering relevant engineering qualifications per country are listed in the country reports.
The employer questionnaire proved very insightful and should be used when carrying out employer research. It covered engineering numbers, employer support for skills development, employer preferences in terms of tertiary institutions educating graduates, and insights into shortages and possible solutions.
Voluntary Associations and Registering Bodies
Providing Voluntary Association and Registering Body data in the format suggested in the questionnaire proved to be very time consuming for each organisation. As these organisations must keep their data up to date to keep in touch with their members, their data gives a useful picture of the make-up of engineering skills. It proved more effective to ask professional bodies to export their entire database for analysis, excluding all personal information such as name, address, contact numbers, identity or passport number. Such exports yielded rich data including age and gender profiles, the mix of disciplines, categories, nationalities, and in some cases, qualifications and the institutions and countries in which these were attained. This approach is recommended when dealing with voluntary associations and registering bodies, and at times was found to be the best method of collecting data from employers.
Specific surveys using SurveyMonkey
The manufacturing and other industry specific surveys were carried out using SurveyMonkey. It should be noted that it is not practical to use online surveys in large parts of Africa, due to connectivity challenges, and particularly when large sets of statistics are required, as completing such forms is time consuming, and systems generally time out before completing each section of such forms. SurveyMonkey however proved useful for qualitative analysis and perception surveys.