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Class is in - Big steps for education about standardization

by Daniele Gerundino on
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ISO-KATS regional workshop
ISO recognizes the fundamental contribution education can make to standardization. Universities and other educational institutions have a key role to play because:
  • They can teach standards development and what it can achieve – from general subjects (contribution to efficiency, public welfare, economic development and trade, sustainability), to specific technical fields (automotive, food, information technology, etc.)

  • They can develop academic studies and research work to investigate the multi-faceted relation between standards, innovation, international trade, business strategy, public welfare, sustainable development and other challenges

  • They can participate in the development of standards, contributing with valuable academic input on cutting-edge research and technology

Students of universities, business schools and other institutions of higher learning are the potential business managers and professional experts of the future. Whether they become engineers, economists or lawyers, they will decide the future role and importance of standardization.

ISO and its national standards bodies (NSBs) are keen to communicate the value of standardization and support educational institutions in addressing standards matters in the framework of their activities. Over the past few years, we have intensified our effort to develop a variety of initiatives to promote cooperation with universities and other schools. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), have cooperated with ISO on a number of initiatives through the World Standards Cooperation (WSC).

The importance of education on standardization was the focus of a series of initiatives which took place in Bali, Indonesia, in May 2012. Consisting of a regional workshop and an international conference, they provided an opportunity to take note of the significant steps made and look forward to future developments – a memorable week for standardization in Indonesia.

ISO-KATS regional workshop

“Enhancing collaboration between national standards bodies and academia” was the theme of the regional workshop organized by ISO in cooperation with KATS, the ISO member for the Republic of Korea. It was the first of a series of ISO regional events aiming to support developing countries in :

  • Defining programmes targetting universities
  • Developing and strengthening courses on education about standardization

These initiatives fall under the ISO Action Plan for developing countries 2011-2015, for which better integration of standardization in educational curricula is one of the expected outputs.

Over 45 participants from 17 countries attended the event in May 2012, in Bali, Indonesia. Through facilitated discussions and break-out groups, the workshop encouraged high participant interaction and active contributions to its final outcome.

ISO-KATS workshop 2012
Participants at the ISO-KATS workshop.

An important part of the discussions centred around Cooperation between National Standards Bodies and Universities, a publication which identifies and describes various existing agreements and programmes between NSBs and universities.

It outlines the results of a study commissioned by ISO to the Chair of Standardization of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, and carried out by Prof. Henk de Vries and his team, between December 2011 and April 2012. The results are based on responses given by NSBs from 73 countries and 26 universities.

The publication provides preliminary guidelines and good practice for introducing educational programmes on standardization in academic institutions, based on experiences of successful cooperation, and on an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of various approaches.

The study’s background information was complemented by presentations of initiatives from countries in the region with significant experience in this area (including Prof. M. Tanaka from Japan and Dr. B. Setiadi from Indonesia).

KATS and the Korean Standards Association (KSA) have been particularly active in education. Over the last decade, they have developed significant programmes to promote courses about standards in universities and other schools.

Dr. Soyoung Joo, Dr. Donggeun Choi, Prof. Byung-Goo Kang, Prof. Sangbong Yi and Sunghyun Park shared various aspects of the Korean experience and lessons learned.

Participants discussed their own national experiences, comparing them with those of other countries, to see how they could improve cooperation between NSBs and universities.

ISO will publish the workshop proceedings in due course. This represents a second step on the path to developing guidelines and good practice for introducing and supporting educational programmes on standardization in universities, including roadmaps and critical success factors.

KATS’ support as co-sponsor and contributor to the regional workshop was valuable and indispensable. As coordinator of the event, I would also like to express ISO’s and my personal gratitude to BSN (ISO member for Indonesia) and its Director, Dr. Bambang Setiadi, for their enthusiasm, dedication and the fantastic job done organizing a week-long series of meetings and social events.

ICES Conference and WSC Academic Day

The International Cooperation on Education about Standardization (ICES) is an informal network of individuals and organizations interested in education about standardization. For the third consecutive year, ICES joined forces with WSC to organize the ICES Annual Conference and WSC Academic Day 2012.

The event provided a valuable opportunity for exchanging national and international experiences on standards and education, and discussing future developments in the field.

Over 200 participants from 30 countries including university professors and other academics, together with representatives of national standards bodies, attended the event. A large number of viewers also followed the conference’s webcast. More than 30 papers and proposals for presentations were submitted in response to a call by the organizers prior to the event, and over 20 authors had the opportunity to contribute as speakers or participants in panel discussions.

Participants at the ICES Conference and WSC Academic Day 2012.

The programme covered a plurality of topics related to standardization and academia. The first part, consisting of the ICES conference, highlighted best practice and innovative examples from different countries and regions. Presentations and discussions provided interesting examples of, and insights into new or successful programmes (mainly at university level). Examples of innovative approaches, such as distance learning techniques and didactical approaches, e-learning models, use of simulations and games, case studies, competitions and others, were also highlighted.

The second part, the WSC Academic Day 2012, focused on a number of existing initiatives and looked ahead towards future developments. ISO, IEC and ITU presented their most important activities stimulating cooperation with educational institutes and recognizing academic excellence.

Opening the conference, Djoko Santoso, Director General of Higher Education at the Indonesian Ministry of Education, highlighted the key role of education and the importance of standardization for the economic and social development of Indonesia. Linking the two subjects, he said, was not only relevant, but timely.

On behalf of ISO, I recalled the importance of the ISO Award, noting that the winners of the last three editions are all strong promoters of standards education and very active contributors to the conference. They include Prof. Song Mingshun, from Jiliang University, China, Prof. Henk de Vries, from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, the Netherlands and Prof. Coallier, from the École de technologie supérieure, Montreal, Canada.

Since last year’s Academic Day (2011) ISO has made a number of important achievements in the field.

Teaching materials

The ISO repository of teaching materials, released in April 2012, provides bibliographic information on a significant list of existing resources on standardization. It was developed with the support of Henk de Vries and his team, including Basak Manders, PhD student of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Department of Management of Technology and Innovation (iso.org/iso/education_materials-list).

Master’s programme

The Master’s programme on Standardization, Social Regulation and Sustainable Development was developed by the University of Geneva in partnership with ISO and SNV (ISO member for Switzerland). It is part of an interdisciplinary programme under the auspices of faculty of Economics and Social Sciences.

The Masters' focuses on sustainable development, in particular the need for active involvement by all the actors likely to contribute to, or be affected by it. It looks at how this can be achieved through participatory processes involving public and private actors situated at various levels (“social regulation”), including standardization’s practices that provide voluntary agreements of great importance. The Master’s programme has been successful, with the first edition to be completed in 2012, and registrations for the second edition (2012-2013) have already closed (standardization.unige.ch/).

Case studies

A database of over 20 company case studies on the economic benefits of standards, from all over the world, is now available (11 published in 2011 and 10 to be published in 2012). These were developed by applying the ISO methodology for measuring the economic benefits of standards. The project is the result of the collaboration between ISO, NSBs, companies and universities (often through Master’s students and their supervisors) (iso.org/iso/benefits_of_standards).

Representing IEC, Jack Sheldon spoke about the IEEE/IEC Challenge 2012. Open to academics, this global competition asks, “How does electrotechnology impact economic, social and environmental development?” By the end of April 2012, 58 registrations from 23 countries had been received ahead of the 1 July 2012 deadline. The award ceremony will take place during the IEC General Meeting on 5 October 2012 (www.iecieeechallenge.org).

Speaking for ITU, Aurora Rubio, presented the ITU University membership programme, highlighting the mutual benefits of membership in the programme. As of April 2012, some 39 universities from 27 countries had joined.

Ms. Rubio also spoke about the ITU Kaleidoscope academic conferences. These international events, organized by ITU-T and co-sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society (IEEE ComSoc), bring together researchers, professors and students from all over the world. The paper selection follows a rigorous double-blind, peer-revision process that involves more than 150 subject matter expert reviewers. The authors of the three best papers are awarded a total of USD 10 000. The next Kaleidoscope academic conference will take place in Kyoto, Japan in April 2013 with the theme “Building sustainable communities” (www.itu.int/ITU-T/uni/kaleidoscope).

In addition, regional and national organizations from Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America also presented ongoing initiatives during the WSC Academic Day.

During the event, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and BSN signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation on standards education. The MoU should lead to the establishment of one or more post-graduate programmes on standardization.

Signature of the MoU between BSN and the Ministry of Education
Signature of the MoU between BSN and the Ministry of Education

Participants indicated great satisfaction with the ICES conference and WSC Academic Day. Not only was it deemed timely and appropriate, but was considered an important learning opportunity. Peer interaction and sharing of experiences, points of views and ideas were also extremely useful.

The 2012 edition of the ICES conference and WSC Academic Day was a success. With a record level of participation, the number and quality of contributions, the event has clearly shown that substantial progress has been made in the past few years to develop and promote education about standardization.

More countries are actively engaged, many more examples of significant experiences have been given (new courses, case studies, teaching materials, competitions) and more initiatives are underway. This is excellent.

But we need to remain focused and recognize that further effort is required to strengthen cooperation between standards bodies and educational institutions, and to achieve our strategic objectives.

For more information see: www.tinyurl.com/ICES-WSC

All presentations are available at: www.tinyurl.com/ICESdownload

Daniele Gerundino
Daniele Gerundino
Daniele Gerundino

Strategic Advisor to the ISO Secretary-General

ISO Central Secretariat
Geneva, Switzerland