Standardisation should be taught in the classroom

Despite recent improvements in some parts of the world, standardization is a subject often overlooked in education, although it is relevant and is of paramount importance to every aspect of our daily lives.  No doubt, it is time that classroom education be provided to our young leaders of tomorrow in the area of standardisation so they can be empowered to improve current standardization systems.

We can no longer perceive standardization to be a dull topic, leaving our students to choose other courses.  Meanwhile, teachers can no longer be reluctant to cover standardization because they are unfamiliar with key issues or unaware of its importance. Curricula developers and instructors should not only focus on subjects perceived as more popular with students but stay abreast of those disciplines that keep the world of business turning.

Our children must at an early age understand, adopt and treat standardisation as the way things are done in the new era. In today’s world, manufacturing processes, product development, packaging and labelling, trading, services, construction, many laws and regulations that govern our lives and the way we do things are all hinged on or comprise standards and standardisation.

Although many believe that standards are simply moral values, our young people must understand that they are much more than that. Standards are documented agreements containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines or definitions, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. They can be applied to everything that we do. Meanwhile, standardisation essentially is the process of implementing these standards.

No doubt, there would be challenges as we attempt to add standardisation to our existing curricula. A workshop organized in 2006 by International Cooperation for Education about Standardisation (ICES) concluded that improving standardization education is dependent upon three main factors:

•    National policies

•    Resource availability

•    Close cooperation between industry, standards bodies, academia and other educational and governmental organisations.

Developing and deploying a national standardization education strategy and policy is a fundamental prerequisite for a systematic approach.  This strategy may broadly address a range of educational areas, or it may be limited.  It may specify in detail exactly what will be done and by whom, or take a global perspective. (Lloyd David, Guyana National Bureau of Standards)

To be continued

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