Geo-engineering education affects us all. The nature and quality of our graduate intake and the opportunities for continuing education will define the future of our disciplines. In a climate of ever increasing demands for innovation, cost efficiency, fast-tracking and interdisciplinary co-operation it would appear that Society demands more and more in terms of quality and versatility of its professions. Strangely, this is coincident with a worldwide trend for a decrease in funding and an apparent lack of commitment by Society to higher education. The geo-engineering profession and geo-engineering education are not immune from these trends. The keynote lecture describes this fundamental dilemma, and discusses the influence on geo-engineering education from the different sub-disciplines, the curricula, the teaching language and methods. Furthermore, the impact from the challenges in the new millennium from Society and student body is addressed.
Education and parenting have a lot in common. In a number of cases we feel obliged as educators to say to our students: "Do as I say! – and not as I do". In the Geo-engineering sciences we have different disciplines and societies/associations which may colour our outlook, methods and understanding of geotechnics. For better and for worse, geotechnics are represented by three sister societies: The International Society for Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE), the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM) and the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment (IAEG), together with a number of other international societies, associations and groups. Of the latter, the International Geosynthetics Society (IGS), the International Tunnelling Association (ITA), the International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH), the International Association of Computer methods and Advances in Geomechanics (IAC-MAG) and the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) are co-sponsoring this conference, GeoEng 2000 – An International Conference on Geotechnical and Geological Engineering.