South African Journal of Industrial Engineering
On-line version ISSN 2224-7890
Print version ISSN 1012-277X
AL -GHAMDI, K.A. A survey of the practices of the approaches taught in an Industrial Engineering undergraduate programme. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2014, vol.25, n.2, pp.121-134. ISSN 2224-7890.
The Saudi labour market has recently witnessed intense competition between locally-graduated Industrial Engineers and those graduating from international universities. This has compelled local IE departments to find ways to improve the quality of their educational programmes and to ensure their alignment with the labour market's needs. To this end, insightful information can be obtained by contacting alumni and soliciting their perceptions of their education. However, empirical investigations based on this approach are rarely reported in the literature. To fill this gap, this study reports the results of a survey that was conducted to examine the gap between what is practised and what is taught in the Industrial Engineering (IE) programme at King Abdulaziz University (KAU). Apart from discussing the main characteristics of the alumni's employers, the study revealed that 'Engineering Economy' involves the most applied techniques in practice, whereas 'Engineering Management' incorporates the most applicable approaches. The limited use of IE techniques was mainly attributed to poor cooperation between practitioners and academics, and the simplistic nature of the problems addressed in the university curriculum compared with complex real-life ones. To deal with some of the identified problems, this paper argues for advisory board members to engage with industry when designing the curriculum, and for the adoption of problem-based learning.