Civil engineering communities are groups of professionals that deal with the design and maintenance of structures. The report discusses the literacy in civil engineering community, current challenges and problems they are experiencing in the new technological world of today. Literacy is the ability to read and write to a component level. In addition, literacy practices have been defined as the typical social models that portray literacy as the key component of community regeneration and forms part of the lifelong agenda of acquiring knowledge. This report may have a significant on national reforms in civil engineering community. Moreover, it will enable young generation to get motivated and look forward to join civil engineering community.
The work of civil engineering it is believe that it began in Egypt around 2000and 400 BC. The Egyptian king during the time was transporting ceramics to his kingdom that he used to construct the pyramids, as a result wheels which were used in transportation generated the paths, later they formed roads. The 1st half of 18th century saw the occurrence of two events, which signified growing acceptance of the need for component road makers and a viable road system. These roads events were the formal construction of 400 km of roadway in Scotland by General Wade and the formation of turnpike trust in England. J.L. Macadam was the first true highway engineer because he used two fundamental principals he emphasized was:-
- It is the native soil that really supports the weight of the traffic and when preserved in a dry state it will carry any weight without sinking.
- Usage of broken stone upon a road which shall unite to form a solid hard surface.
These concepts are as valid as they were over one and a half centuries ago.
In the Roman Empire roads played a very vital role in the maintenance of the Empire. It can be said that the Empire was held together by a well-designed system of roadways. The total road mileage connecting the Roman Empire is believed to have been 78000 km. these roads were more of military facilities. They are usually regarded in this way as their construction was motivated by military action. Since the military forces were required to travel quickly to any part of the empire that was threatened by with attacks. However, the facilities could have also been unmilitary since their main purpose was not for conquest but to aid administration and quell rebellion after a country had been occupied. The greatest Roman system was based on 29 major roads radiating from Rome to the outer most fringes of the Empire.
In addition, the great walls of China of were build around 200 BC. Indeed, it was at this time that scientific approach to engineering started from the application of the Archimedes Principle of buoyancy and the other applications in the screw to raise water. In the current world, the technology has enable works of civil engineering more easier especially with the available software’s such as AutoCAD, Arch card etc. As we appreciate the technology there is need to acknowledge the works of earlier engineers.
Literacy of civil engineering community
In the 18th it become clearer that the world could not do without civil engineering, as a result Norwich University established Civil Engineering as a independent career in 1819. Thereafter, countries around the world developed Societies of Civil Engineering, for example in the United State of America and Europe. In the 20th century it spread all over the continents with higher institutional learning opening centers for similar course.
First, literacy does not simply mean additional of knowledge or skills, it need a lot of experience in the field of course work. In this community, Engineers are to come up with structures that are supposed to be very stable in determinacy, safe for both human life and property. The knowledge got from school work is to enable the student learn basic skills in Civil Engineering. However, at the same time he/she should be in the position to carry out laboratory practical’s on their own on the basic concepts they learn in class. This enables a student to become well armed with knowledge on civil Engineering and react to the future challenges in the community accurately.
Furthermore, after graduation Civil Engineers are expected more competent in the professional world, this includes ability to interpret raw data, analyze, design, correct interpretation in the ground and understand safety and maintenance of the structure. This can only be achieved by correct interpretation of the codes for design for example in Europe the BS 5628, information obtain from them enable one to choose a correct material, environment and minimal cost for building.
In addition, there are laws governing the Civil Engineers, this laws are created by arms of government like parliament which create an independent body both nationally and internationally to regulate Engineers for example in Kenya ERB (engineering registration board). This is to assist in blocking those who are poor in construction and to block unskilled personnel, at the same time allowing them to keep up with the ever increasing technological advancement as they renew their license of practice.
Significance associated with literacy in civil engineering
Literacy has a number of significance, first, it act as a source of security, for instance, knowledge acquired from Engineering enable early detection of oil spills in sea and ocean waters hence prevent damage to human and aquatic life. Use of remote sensor based on aircraft gives more information as compared to eye observation, however it is more costly. Frequent earthquakes tremors are able to be detected earlier enough before the seismic waves from the earth crust develop into large waves that may result into a tsunami, if there were no detectors of such a disaster then lives of human and aquatic could be lost more frequently.
Secondly, literacy create safety on roads and improve socialization among communities, for example, information acquired from Civil Engineering enable the construction of safer roads through correct design of curves of roads such as transitional, circular curves etc. this enable drivers to overtake or climb up or down a hill safely. Bridges connecting cities enable people to interact hence create social amenities. Although concrete and steel have been widely used in construction of bridges, dams and buildings, corrosion still remain a significant challenge for example in bridge construction. In USA, statistics from the United States’ Federal Highway Administration indicates that well over 40% of bridges are currently either dysfunctional or structurally unfit for the modern transport systems To overcome this literacy has enable Engineers to come up with fiber reinforced plastic material. Moreover development of subway structures have been a significant improvement of Civil Engineering community. As a matter of fact most countries are investing heavily on subway transportation, for instance, in cities of New York and Paris. In the city of New York, they have put in place a subway system that has several stations packed into a single area. In London, the London Tube serves a number of several as many people as 275 stations in the entire city of the city. Currently the French and Britain government are constructing a tunnel that will pass under the sea connecting Paris of France and London of Britain. One of the qualification of a Civil Engineer was to have minimum of fifty years of experience, this shows the need of literacy even in the field practice.
In addition, Industrial revolution has been credited with significant advancements in the field of civil engineering and extension of the civil engineering community, as people shift from working in their firms to extensive work in the emerging factories which are majorly in towns and cities. A number of citizens ranging from international to domestic workers move to these areas in search for employment, for example people moving from Europe to America are attracted to this areas because of good structural development and quality roads. However, this may lead to population pressure in the area so, there is need to put more building structures for their family accommodation, improvement and expansion of roads for easy transportation of goods from the producers to consumers likewise to citizen from their homes to work and opposite.
In conclusion, it is evident that literacy in Civil Engineering community plays a significant role in the society. Information obtain from all levels of Civil Engineering assist in determination of human and animal safety, as failure in a structure pose danger to both. Imagine all the structural failures that occurs around the world, upon investigation it is found out that the constructor who was in charge of the project was not qualified but only had the capital, without the laws governing the construction world and continuous improvement in literacy of Civil Engineering then there would be more danger to human life and structures.