Professor Ami Moyal, President of Afeka Academic College of Engineering in Tel Aviv, will address the shortage of qualified engineers in Israel, the skills required of new engineers entering the modern workforce, and how Afeka is addressing these issues at the Jerusalem Post Conference, to be held June 5 at Gotham Hall in New York City.
Over the past five years, the Israel Innovation Authority has reported an annual shortage of between 13,000 and 20,000 engineers and programmers, adding that this lack of engineers in Israel is an obstacle to the country’s economic development and national resilience.
Moyal notes that while there is a serious shortage of engineers in Israel, the type of education that is required to produce workforce-ready engineers is equally important. “There are significant changes in technology,” he says. “The employment market is changing, and today requires a different kind of engineer, emphasizing multi-disciplinary personal skills, such as teamwork, critical thinking, self-learning and effective communication.
"Engineering education must change to help students develop these skills. Otherwise, it may become irrelevant.”
Afeka has addressed these issues, says Moyal, by updating its curriculum, adding vital skills as learning outcomes of the courses and modifying its pedagogical methods. Many classes are no longer taught by traditional frontal lectures. Instead, courses are taught through project-based learning, both in and outside the classroom setting, through extracurricular activities and partnerships, forming an ecosystem that includes industry, the educational system, NGOs, military and security, municipalities, hospitals and more.
Soon Afeka, in partnership with the Tel Aviv Municipality, will begin construction of an innovative, nearly $100 million state-of-the-art campus in south Tel Aviv that will enable it to incorporate these new educational methods used in training the engineers of tomorrow. “It is unique,” says Prof. Moyal, “to have the opportunity to build a new campus from scratch. Our new campus will have important consequences, not only for Afeka but for the nation, the high-tech industry and the city of Tel Aviv.”
Explains Moyal, “Afeka’s new campus will enable the college to increase its student body from 3,300 to close to 5,000, thus enabling us to train more engineers for Israel.” He adds that the move from the current north Tel Aviv campus to the new south Tel Aviv location will have a great deal of urban significance that will enable the campus to act as an academic hub for high-tech growth while helping bridge societal gaps by bringing an influx of students, faculty, commerce and facilities and creating a socio-economic-educational ecosystem that promotes excellence and innovation in science and technology as a basis for social mobility.
Afeka’s south Tel Aviv campus is expected to be completed by 2026. Afeka has raised a significant amount of the required funds for its construction and, says Moyal, is looking for partners to assist in its development.