I met up with some committee members of my IET local network today and we had a chat about membership. I raised a question on why there are so few local university students as our members as I felt that this was a bad thing for the future of the society. The answer invariably led to the UUCA and that caught me by surprise at first. Then, it made sense.
The UUCA makes it illegal for students to not only join, but also limits their support and participation for any society, body or group outside the university. Everything else has to be done with the permission from their vice chancellor. I suppose that this is an unintended consequence of the UUCA. As a result, it is illegal for these students to directly sign up as IET members.
Without the support and access provided by the IET, these students are just losing out on their peers in other countries. For one, they would be denied access to the local networks and international links. There are so many things that these students can learn from senior engineers in the industry, from the network of young engineering professionals and also each other.
The UUCA sucks ass. No wonder our local graduates have so much problems finding jobs. If they were IET student members, they would gain direct access to various engineering companies. They would also have access to all the publications produced by the IET, all the conferences organised by the IET and all the other academic material released by the IET.
It just does not make much sense to me that the stifling of freedoms within the universities, resulted in not just stifling political activity, it also ends up stifling good natured engineering and academic activities.