Accreditation of mining education programs as a basis for sustainable development, a necessity for mining education in Iran

Category Mine
Group GSI.IR
Location 20th WORLD MINING CONGRESS 2005
Author Mohammad Koneshloo* Mohammad Reza Neyestani Hossein Ahmadzadeh
Holding Date 08 January 2006
ABSTRACT
 
Many people nowadays think development is independent of raw materials, global expenditure for exploration from 1996 to 2002 dropped from $5 B USD to $2 B USD, but during the same period it increased from 20 M€ to more than 40 M€ in Finland. It is forecast that, over the next 50 years, the world will use five times more mineral resources that have been mined to the year 2000. Statistics show that, only a small part of the natural resources has been extracted in Iran, except for oil and gas reserves. The country need to feed domestic industries with domestic raw materials at the aim of giving them a positive impact in the global market. The key to success is cheaper production costs. The subject of human resource is very important as a competitive key and is a basis for sustainable development. Around the world, accreditation in engineering education is a mechanism to certify degree programs as meeting a certain set of standards. The need for these standards is driven by the globalization of engineering activities in the industry. Accreditation is a self-regulatory process by which governmental, non-governmental, voluntary associations or other statutory bodies grant formal recognition to educational programs or institutions that meet certified criteria of educational quality. In this paper we try to open this discussion, the main criteria will be analysed to show their importance for the future of mining engineering in Iran.
Key words: Mining engineering, evaluation, quality of education, accreditation, sustainable development
 
 

INTRODUCTION
 
The first question that may appear in the mind of citizens is, “will mining industry have any importance in future?”, regarding the progress of technology and industry of recover and decrease of dependence of countries to raw materials. The following paragraph published by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, can answer, very clearly to this question, “Over the next 50 years the world will use five times the mineral resources that have been mined to the year 2000. To meet this predicted increase in demand, the industry must grow as an internationally competitive sector, underpinned by innovation and technology. To achieve this, the industry requires competent professionals possessing sophisticated knowledge and advanced technical and leadership skills”. (J. McDivitt 2002). Many people think that nowadays development is independent of raw materials, and as an example they show the decreasing trend of mining activities in developed countries. This is a valid proof as proof, but drawn from the wrong comparison. Industry needs raw materials but using technology that can produce high quality or special production which returns higher added-values and hence the sensitivity of industry to the price of raw materials decreases. However, there is a dependency on domestic raw materials for economic reasons. Global expenditure for exploration from 1996 to 2002 dropped from $5 B USD to $2 B USD, but in the same period it increased from 20 M€ to more than 40 M€ in Finland. (Marjosola 2003). Statistics show that we have extracted only a small part of our natural recourses except for oil and gas. On the other hand, we need to feed domestic industries with domestic raw materials at the aim of giving them a positive impact in the global market. The key to success is cheaper production costs.
 
The second question can start a fundamental debate on the role of mining industry in sustainable development. With attention to the fact that the mineral resources are not reproducible, using this expression in the mining domain may look ambiguous. Gibson & al. (2003) stated that when a deposit has become exploited it can not be reproduced for the next generation. The researchers of UBC Sustainability Working Group have tried to explain this paradox. They think “as it enters a new era, the mining sector is facing the challenging new concept of sustainability. Although mining is a temporary use of the land, it brings with it significant potential for long-term environmental, social and economic impacts, both good and bad.” (G. Gibson & al. 2003)
They have described how university-industry stakeholder collaboration is building a new approach for a sustainable mining. They try to find sustainability for mining industry in following domains:
-    Sustainable technology: to practice engineering and geosciences
-    Sustainable community: to provide the next generation of engineers with the skills and knowledge. (to understand and communicate with indigenous communities around the world)
-    Sustainable projects: to respect more the environment.
 
EDUCATION AS THE PRIMARY AGENT OF TRANSFORMATION
 
Education in general terms is one the most important and attractive subject in the sustainable development discussions. The four principal requires for achieving a sustainable human development have been described as follow, in the World Summit for sustainable development in 2002:
·    Recognition of the challenge,
·    Collective responsibility and constructive partnership
·    Acting with determination
·    The indivisibility of human dignity
 
They insist on the fact that education must provide the skills for, learning to know, learning to live together, learning to do and learning to be. The importance of education has been accentuated in the report of UNESCO on sustainable development for the future decade (2005-20014),. They said “Education is the primary agent of transformation toward sustainable development, increasing people’s capacities to transform their vision for society reality”. (Arima A. & al. 2004). We will need to change or review our education references and planning to make them more compatible with the aim and requires of sustainable future. Therefore evaluation and improvement of the applied educational methods are essential.
 
ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
 
The process of the production of minerals, from the starting of geological surveys to mineral processing are very expensive, thus the mining industry needs more investment and a well distributed infrastructure. To feed the mineral based industries, with the cheaper domestic processed minerals as a competitive key, the procedure of production must be done more cost-effective than now. To profit of well-trained employees is one of the most important factor to reduce the overall costs of the projects. Higher Education Institutions (HEI) are expected to be responsive to the needs of their environments. The HEI through application of management functions would achieve their objectives with efficiency and effectiveness. A working group of International Association of Universities (IAU 2003) has worked specially to explore the link between university research and sustainable development. This group identified the changes in the universities administrative structures and practices, enhancing collaboration and evaluation as the major needs.
 
Functions of the HEI management are as follows:
a) planning; b) organizing; c) directing; d) monitoring and evaluation, (Bazargan, 1999). Among these, monitoring and evaluation has a crucial role to play. On one hand, to facilitate planning or organizing and directing activities of the HEI; and on the other hand, act as a sub system for quality improvement and quality assurance in higher education.
 
Then main evaluation models those are applied in higher education are so different. In fact, there are different approaches to quality evaluation in higher education. This paper, try first to clarify the importance of quality evaluation in higher education. Then elaborate on the fact that accreditation is the most important of these approaches to quality assurance.
 
QUALITY EVALUATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION
 
Higher Education has profoundly changed in the past few decades. Universities and higher education systems have faced pressures of increasing numbers of students and demographic changes. The other required domains are the more active social and economical role of higher education, and implications and impact of new technologies (Altbach & al. 1999).
 
The development of mass higher education has not only altered the purposes and organization of higher education, but also the concepts of the standards and quality (Armour 1994). Since the early 1980s, with increasing worldwide economical and technological advancements, governments have explicitly expressed concerns for quality in higher education (Green 1994, Mayhew et al 1990, Van Vught & al. 1994). But the debate of quality in higher education is not a new subject, although in the past universities and government agencies used different terms such as academic standards, standards of degrees and diplomas, student assessment, and accountability (Harman 1994). Green (1994) defines quality as fitness for purpose.
 
In the past, the main issues in the debate of quality were largely about maintaining academic standards according to some national or international norms concerning the improvement of the levels of teaching and learning, and financial sources. Many of these issues are still important today, but the new debate of quality is largely about to achieve the quality outcomes. The establishment of appropriate management processes became more important to monitor the achievement and the extent to which specified goals and objectives are being met. Educate of graduates for the special professions, and providing the information to stakeholders in order to assure them of the quality and credibility of outputs is one of the big differences between the old debate and the new debate of quality. While the old debate was largely concerned about the inputs and the national and international academic standards, the new one is much more concerned about management processes and their effectiveness, the assessment of outputs, performance monitoring, and how well outputs meet employer and other needs.
 
Today quality assurance is defined as a process that examines the aims, structure, inputs, processes, products, and outputs also the methods to maintain, improve and enhance the quality.
 
ACCREDITATION AND ITS PHILOSOPHY
 
There are different approaches to quality evaluation in higher education. One of the most important evaluation models is accreditation. In fact, the term of accreditation in higher education originally came from the United States, but over the years many of the key ideas have been adopted by professional associations and government agencies from different nations. In the United States, accreditation has been associated with quality assurance. The processes in higher education associated mainly with voluntary self-regulations, carried out by the professional accrediting organisations and regional accrediting associations, independent of government. Today there is a wide variety of professional accrediting organisations covering traditional professional areas such as medicine, engineering, law, dentistry and architecture and the other newly occupational areas. Such associations accredit the courses in particular. On the other hand, regional accrediting associations, accredit the institutions.
 
Accreditation is an evaluation model that its mission is to provide a voluntary external evaluation of higher education systems and to recognize those systems that meet or exceed stated standards. An accreditation model is designed to assure the quality of the education offered in programs of professional study. Accredited programs are recognized for a level of performance that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public. The European Consortium for Accreditation (ECA) defines accreditation as “a formal and independent decision, indicating that an institution of higher education and/or programmes offered meet certain standards.” This definition also covers some quality assessments. These assessments are described “accreditation like as procedures”.
 
Accreditation is achieved through a multi-step process (self evaluation/ documentation submitted by the unit undergoing accreditation; external assessment by independent experts; the accreditation decision). The accreditation decision depends upon a quality assessment based on internationally accepted quality standards. The final decision of the accreditation procedure itself is authoritative by nature, and must be determined by an external process. Accreditation procedures contribute to the continued quality development of the accredited academic unit: Institutions receive advice about quality improvement throughout the accreditation process. (TOWARDS ACCREDITATION SCHEMES FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN EUROPE, 2001)
 
Then, accreditation refers to a process of assessment and review which enables a higher education course or institution to be recognised or certified as meeting appropriate standards. In spite of internal Evaluation, the external evaluation was carried out by external persons of university. For carrying out accreditation, we should make Committee. Role of committee in external evaluation is development of evaluation standards .In external evaluation; standards were developed in national or international level. For example, if we want to evaluate education quality in engineering colleges, we should be made a committee by engineering professors. Task of engineering professors in committee is development of evaluation standards for engineering colleges. When evaluation Standards were developed; we can compare engineering colleges with standards and accredit colleges. Then major goal of external evaluation is accreditation educational groups /colleges /universities in National or international level. In total, accreditation includes the following factors:
- Input of higher education system
- Process of higher education system
- Output of higher education system
- Outcome of higher education system
 
In the current research, we explain the main parameters for accreditation, by considering the special situation of the Iranian educational system, in order to interest the decision makers to the following subjects:
·   To review the merit of programs of various mining education facilities and their value to society,
·   To review the process of teaching and learning, strategies employed, human and material resources involved and outcomes achieved,
·   Determination of ways for improving mining education facilities and their services.
 
THE POTENTIALS AND CAPACITIES OF IRAN FOR DEVELOPMENT
 
The situation of Iran is one of the most important and the frequently mentioned which can be used as an ace card in new world’s economical card deck. We describe this special situation, in different points of view.
 
Iran has situated in an interesting tectonic zone, in the micro plate of Iran and neighbour plates. Many tectonic phenomena are present and these phenomena have created a good variety of mineral resources. The NW-SE subduction zone containing, cupper belt , ophiolitic zones , back arc lead and zinc deposits, the massive sulphide deposits related to different stages of the Wilson cycle of the Neo-Tethys, Fe deposit of the central part of Iran.
 
The different magmatic cycles has been formed in relation to the plate tectonic activities; these variate magmatic bodies and volcanic series dedicated a good potential for the industrial minerals and dimension stones. These natural wealths have been mentioned as an important factor on the strategic plan to industrial development of the country prepared by Nili & al. (2003)
 
The huge reserves of oil and gas in the south-west of country can be assumed as non-expensive sources of energy, which can affect the cost of production in the metallurgical process and the calcination of minerals.
 
The nuclear civile plants will decrease relatively the dependency of country to fossil energy. However, this progress will privilege country a higher weight in the OPEC decisions due to the added capacity of exportable oil and gas. This energy source replacement can help the country to reduce CO2 emission if electricity becomes an acceptable alternative to the energy consumption in the Iranians homes. Nili (2003) has insisted of geopolitical situation of country, as an economical bridge, between the poles economic in the east, China and India, and the European unity. This situation will be accentuated if Turkey becomes a member of EU.
 
In comparison to the other neighbours, Iran has the maximum number of the neighbours, so this country can play an active role, in the economical exchange, and have a more variate consumption market.
 
Iran is located on routes of air corridors, communication road, railway grids and oil/gas conveyance lines and has immediate access to the region’s market; a market with population over 300 million. This geo-strategic location not only increases Iran’s importance and role but also gives access to fast growing and emerging markets in Middle East and Central Asia. (Sargheini 2003)
 
The population of country is very young and the labour cost is low. The education level has increased during past decade; the data of statistical centre of Iran shows, near 3 million students in the different level of higher education (2 millions in public university and 1 million in Azad Universities as the main private sector). Nature Journal has published a short article about scientific potential of Iran. In this editorial article an increase of the publication rate of Iranian scientists to more than 300% over the past decade has been reported. The author has showed other face of this positive point, as the influence of some individual research centres to increase this record. This point can be very interesting to discuss, for utilisation of structure of the success research centres with high rate of publication for other passive centres. The country has invested more in the science and the nurturing the gradual emergence of a climate in which high quality research can flourish. (Editorial article of Nature Journal 2005). The country has relatively a long history in the mining activities. Some activities during three program phase of development have been done to solve some parts of the problems to prepare a suitable background for the activity of the private sectors. With attention to the importance of present period as a sensitive and distinctive opportunity, Iranian experts wish a new understanding of the necessity of foreign investment in the country. It can help to solve the rest of the problems in this domain. Table 1 shows the number of the mines and carriers between 1986 and 2002.
 
The country has extensive working potential for copper, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, silver, chromites and coal. Iran is known to host some world class mines in above-mentioned commodities. Currently over 40 minerals are being produced in Iran, which detailed information regarding some of their reserves is shown in Table 2. (Sargheini 2003)
 
Year
Total
Private‍
Public
1986
718
436
282
1991
1920
1393
527
1996
2704
2137
567
1998
2436
2027
409
1999
2507
2057
450
2000
2656
2316
342
2001
2892
2548
344
2002
2955
2623
332
 
Table 1: Number of mines and carriers in Iran. The decrease in public mines is the result of the privatisation in the mining sector. (Statistics centre of Iran)
 
New activities to industrialisation have been started in the neighbour countries. Iran’s industrialization experience has been started from 60th decade. The revolution, the imposed war, the economical and technological embargos and sometimes the misunderstood of the national and international situations have delayed Iranian industrial development. Nonetheless, the lessons resulted from these experiences can help the country to progress in a good way.
 
O’Driscoll (2004), in his article - Iran-windows of opportunity- has written: “Things are happening in Iran, and happening fast. Steel, ceramics, cement, refractories, oil and gas, and population are all on the up. The one sector that would  benefit from this industrial boom, but as yet cannot deliver, is the mineral industry, plugged by poor planing and outdated processing. It’s time for change, and opportunity knocks for overseas investment”. Evidently this change must be done in the high levels of economical and political direction of system to assure the investors. The ministry of mine and industries must plan a realistic strategy and must define its requirements from the educational system. Educate must be done more predefined due to the future industrial needs in the levels of quality and quantity also.
 
The authors insist if the engine of the real activities for industrial development don’t start today in the country, after some years it will be more difficult to go ahead, and the industry can not reorganise and continue after 10 years from now. It will be more comprehensible if one studies high rate of economical progress in China, India, and even Iran’s neighbours in future.
 
If in ancient age it was possible to protect a country or a city with castle and walls, today any wall cannot protect our industries against their competitors, they most be strong enough to enter to the competition arena. All the industries will be always in the middle of this arena, there is not any shelter. The competition defines the winner; the winner is the one who produces with higher quality and lower price and keeps its customers with the good services. In this situation, each country plans to concentrate on some special domains.
 
No.
Minerals
Reserves
1
Asbestos
120
2
Barite
3.8
3
Bauxite
14
4
Bentonite
6.8
5
Boron
0.02
6
Chromite
7.5
7
Celestite
0.7
8
Coal
4000
9
Copper
3000
10
Feldspar
3.7
11
Fluorine
3
12
Gold Ore
16.5
13
Gypsum
2200
14
Iron Ore
2800
15
Kaolin, Fire Clay
100
16
Lead & Zinc
94
17
Magnesite
5
18
Manganese Ore
8
19
Mica
0.2
20
Molybdenum
0.05
21
Nepheline Syenite
1300
22
Orpiment
0.03
23
Phosphate Rock
630
24
Salt
102
25
Silica & Quartz
128
26
Silver
0.4
27
Talc
1.6
28
Turquoise
500(ton)
29
Dimensional Stone
3000
30
Limestone
8500
 
Table 2: Mineral reserve in Iran (Mt) (Sargheini 2003)
 
The studies of Nili et al. (2003) for planning the strategy of industrial development of country contain the following items: the regional opportunities, occasion and the menaces. Many industries such as, the industrial machinery, the chemical materials and minerals, the car industry, the electrical and electronic furniture, the metal industry, textile, agricultural and alimentary industry, petrochemical industry and the industry based non metallic mineral, has been analysed and their regional markets have been studied.
 
China and the south east countries of Asia have stand in a very good position. Their activities menace even European and American industries in electronic and electrical furniture and the textiles. In petrochemical industry, competition will be very hard with other oil producers in the region. One of the more possible choices to develop industries is mainly based on mineral resources. This decision shows the importance of the duty of mining engineering and its related branches in the industrial future of the country. This decision relays on the domestic raw materials and the the low cost of energy and labour to privilege the related industries. It is evident now, educational system designed to prepare the graduate to a general knowledge and skills, cannot give enough efficiencies to the next and present generation as the agents of this mission. The industry of country cannot resist in this arena. In new epoch the new educational program must be harmonized and planed in correspondence with our future targets in the industry. We will need to evaluate, the education quality and the quality of its products.
 
ACCREDITATION ACTIVITIES IN MINING ENGINEERING
 
The activities of ABET and SME are introducing here briefly before starting to present the chosen criteria of accreditation of mining engineering education in Iran, and discuss about them. A good collaboration between ABET and SME has been achieved to prepare an executable plan of mining engineering education. These criteria were using with educational centres like as Mining engineering at Michigan Tech and Department of Mining Engineering in Kentucky University.
 
The aim of this program is to prepare men and women to assume active leadership roles in industry, satisfying present and future needs of a global society through the development and implementation of revolutionary technologies for the extraction of mineral resources and construction of underground structures in a socially responsible, economically viable, and environmentally sound manner.
 
The program outcomes expect that all graduates should have:
·    Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering;
·    Ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data;
·    Ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs;
·    Ability to function in multidisciplinary teams;
·    Ability to identify, formulate and resolve engineering problems;
·    An understanding of professional and ethical responsibility;
·    Ability to communicate effectively;
·    The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global and societal context;
·    A recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage, in life-long learning;
·    A knowledge of contemporary issues;
·    Ability to use techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice.
·    SME has proposed the followed criteria:
·    Ability to apply mathematics through differential equations, calculus-based physics, general chemistry, and probability and statistics as applied to mining engineering applications;
·    Demonstrate fundamental knowledge in the geological sciences including characterization of mineral deposits, physical geology, structural or engineering geology, and mineral and rock identification and properties;
·    Demonstrate proficiency in static, dynamics, strength of materials, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and electrical circuits;
·    Demonstrate proficiency in engineering topics related to both surface and underground mining, including: mining methods; planning and design; ground control and rock mechanics; health and safety; environmental issues; ventilation;
·    Demonstrate proficiency in additional engineering topics such as: rock fragmentation, materials handling, mineral or coal processing, mine surveying, and valuation and resource/reserve estimation;
·    Hands-on lab and field experience leading to proficiency in geologic concepts, rock mechanics, mine ventilation, and rock fragmentation. (websites of Michigan Tech and Kentucky University, Department of Mining Engineering)
 
CRITERIA OF ACCREDITATION AND THEIR NECESSITY IN MINING EDUCATION
 
The criteria are subdivided into the six main groups, these groups are: the management and planning, research, educational context, educational programs and the courses contents, students and graduated students. We will try to show the importance of the criteria in the accreditation procedure via some examples. The details of criteria prepared as a question form will be available on the home page of the authors.
 
PROPOSED CRITERIA AND THEIR IMPORTANCE
 
MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING
 
Targets definition must be done with respect to the different educational levels, regional opportunities, and the necessary skills. The educational system must provide an acceptable output. It means the graduated qualified with sufficient knowledge and basic skills for the industrial sectors. Today quality management is an essential part of higher education administration. We try to explain the importance of a global view to the relation between industry and education more clearly, via an example. Many ceramic plans have developed in the non metallic section of the ministry of industry from the start of 90th decade. This development was to supply the needs of domestic markets. Nowadays, many experts estimate the domestic market can not consume all the present produced ceramics. Exporting of ceramic will become immediate and essential possibility of the ceramic companies, especially if one takes into account the under-construction factories and the capacity extending plans.
 
Penetrate in ceramic market will not be an easy task because the ceramic industry is in overproduction in the world and especially in the region. Stentiford (2003) has announced the sufferance of market from over capacity in the tile industry. He has mentioned this trend will continue in the future with new plans in Iran and Russia, on the other hand, the construction in Iraq and Afghanistan has provided new markets. Body raw materials represent a significant cost to tile market, thus they can be used as a tool to give more competitively. The effect of this development can not be observed very clearly in mine engineering education. However, a global planning for industrial development of the country must be done in details. An education plan must be prepared regarding to require of this plan.
 
In the procedure of target definition for mining education sectors, the following parameters must be defined: the composition of scientific advisory and industrial advisory and their tasks , collaboration levels, the research priorities, the technology of communication and education, specification of each program and students levels and needs.
 
With growing the cost to educate the engineering student, and sometimes not enough candidates to study in this domain in some countries, these departments decreased in the world. To take advantage of economies of scale the collaboration between the departments for a common program can be an answer. Several respondents mentioned the potential of web-based courses, e-Learning, distance learning, virtual universities (they are the different names for much the same thing).
 
Industry is the key. Industry Advisory Teams is fundamental to give a strong voice to industry in the development of any new pattern. The following operational tools must be revised for realizing mining education needs;
·    Election and evaluation of the managers
·    International activities of faculty and membership in international associations and projects. The Federation of European Mineral Programs (FEMP) was established as legal organisation of those international programs. It has let to establish three different international specialisation M.Sc. programs, accommodating 60 students per year all together (FEMP homepage):
·    The exchange possibilities or common activities between the different faculties,
·    Pay attention to TQM systems and approaches of quality assurance in the level of education, teaching and administration,
·    Budgeting and setting up a mechanism to revised it regularly.
 
As an example for scientific consulting, Mining Education Advisory Board can study the need for new training requirements. A high-priority strategy is to increase the interaction between Mining Education Advisory Boards and academic centres to design new core requirements for students.
 
This could be accomplished with a committee that includes educators, industry, customers, decisions makers, and students. Once these new core requirements are established, each university should better maintain a dialog with industrial advisory board to guide and direct the educators to meet industry's needs. (American National Mining Association 2002)
RESEARCH
With attention to varieties of the fields related to mining engineering, educational system must concentrate on some special domains. So the following factors must be defined:
·    The research priority with attention to the industrial needs, experts’ capability, and composition of scientific board, and facilities,
·    The methods to study industrials needs, encourage industries experts and students involved in research programs, and control the quality of research,
·    The approach to participate or propose the project in national and regional scales,.
·    The approach to participate or propose the international projects,
·    Establishment of technical poles and providing the communication tools to transfer the research results and experiences, such as publishing periodic technical journals,
·    Budgeting approach and financial support for research,
·    Establishment of special directory to produce the knowledge, publish the outputs such as software, books and instruments; support the innovation and patents.
·    A clear strategy on research programs and PhD. thesis directing,
·    Regular scientific meetings.
 
EXPERTS AND SCIENTIFIC COMPOSITION OF TEACHING BOARD
 
The teaching board is one the most important elements in education systems. So on one hand a qualified team is essential in order to provide tools and skills to engineers. The composition of the team has to accord to the following criteria:
·    Ratio of professors, assistant and executives to the number of students in different educational level and in total,
·    Definition the necessary indices of mentioned ratio for each program.
·    Updating scientific score of teaching team in national level. A regular report of these changes and evolutions can give a more clear image of the program achievement and it’s quality,
·    Setting up a gradual system of recognition for the educational team. This system must encourage their scientific activities and involvements.
·    Training programs for educational team, to improve their knowledge and expertise, experience exchange, and introduce new developed horizons.
 
To make education more attractive, many universities draw experts from industry to teach courses as visiting professors. This is a win-win situation, in fact the university is an obvious beneficiary, and industry has the opportunity to develop close working relations with students and faculty. This method can provide fundamental support for the educational system and its basic (collaborative) research component.
 
PROGRAMS AND COURSE CONTENT
 
In the countries without the industrialization experience, the educational organisations are responsible to educate a new generation with enough capability to introduce and impose the changes. So planning of education for future mining engineers must take these parameters into account. In the new worlds, mining has become a high-tech industry, and mining companies try to use the new and advanced technology in order to reduce operational costs and to optimize the process. The job seekers who have participated to specialised courses will have more chance to be engaged with the mining companies, thus it is essential for educational centres to synchronise their educational plan to these new progresses in mining industry.
 
Hitzman (2005) has described the environmental impact as the second revolution in mining activities. There is an inverse relationship between the total cost of production per unit and the capacity of production. This relation permitted to exploit economically the low-grade deposits in a huge scale during 20th century. In new century, with respect to new environmental restriction, many big deposits can not be exploited due to high cost of remediation such as the pits backfill costs.
 
After the comparison between two gold deposits and between two cupper deposits, Hitzman has concluded the necessity to exploit deposits with higher grade. The extraction of low grade deposit necessities the use of novel methods such as “in-situ leeching” and extraction by solution injection and recovery methods via the wells.
 
First proposition impose to find the more powerful exploration methods. The chance of exploration a high grade deposit has been declined. Second proposition will give a new direction to mining engineering to provide new skills to control the new parameters such as the parameters of fluid mechanics, the chemical reaction kinetic and solid-liquid interactions.
 
STUDENTS
 
Nevertheless to the industrialisation and automation, as yet employees are one the most important factors of competition, the challenges of human resource are a serious subject in industries. H. Edinne (2004) has recently published a paper about these challenges: “The mining industry like as other industries relies to its peoples to drive, create and shape the operations and technologies that sustain production. There is no important asset to a mine than the people that keep it in operation”.
 
The main criteria in this category are as follow:
·          The number and the ratio of the student in different levels,
·          Exchange between universities in country and abroad
·          The quality indices of admitted students and the capacity of program,
·          The system to assess the educational progress of students,
·          Encourage and support excellent students; offering job opportunities.
 
Some interesting activities have been described as follow:
-          Student Internships: introduce the work integrated learning programmes,
-          Double Degrees: this approach requires additional time in the program. As mineral development becomes more complex, the mining engineer needs more knowledge in various fields. This program is called “Engineering Plus”, and takes 5 years instead of 4 years, but the engineering students can obtain double degrees.
-          Students must be made aware of the diverse career opportunities available from mining and related fields. They also must possess a variety of technical and non-technical skills to be able to adapt them facing the industry changes. This is critical in attracting more students into mining and mineral-related programs.
 
GRADUATES AND ALUMNI
 
Where do work your graduates? This type of question is important when one wants to evaluate the results of an educational program. So keeping in contact with graduates is very important for keeping relation with industry and evaluation of educational needs and programs
The Mining Associations already serve as a valuable link between the components of industry, representatives of government and universities, bringing together in their memberships. For example, the Canadian Mining Education Council is a group established in 2000 representing all the mining schools of Canada.
 
CONCLUSIONS
 
We conclude briefly with a question from McDivitt (2002):  Today’s mining engineer is a very different person from that of even a decade ago, and we can expect at least as great a change in the next decade. How do the engineering schools keep pace, and continue to turn out “competent professionals possessing sophisticated knowledge and advanced technical and leadership skills?”
 
Acknowledgement
 
The authors would like to thank the direction and employees of the SFERE Franco Iranian PhD exchange program for their support.
 
REFERENCES
 
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