Technical education in India contributes a major share to the overall education system and plays a vital role in the social and economic development of our nation. In India, technical education is imparted at various levels such as: craftsmanship, diploma, degree, post-graduate and research in specialized fields, catering to various aspects of technological development and economic progress.
The beginning of formal Technical Education in India can be dated back to the mid 19th Century. The major policy initiatives in the pre-independence period included appointment of the Indian Universities Commission in 1902, issue of the Indian Education policy resolution in 1904 and the Governor General’s policy statement of 1913 stressing the importance of Technical Education, the establishment of IISc in Bangalore, Institute for Sugar, Textile and Leather Technology in Kanpur, N.C.E. in Bengal in 1905 and Industrial schools in several provinces. Significant developments include:
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was set-up in November 1945 as a national level Apex Advisory Body to conduct survey on the facilities on technical education and to promote development in the country in a coordinated and integrated manner. And to ensure the same, as stipulated in, the National Policy of Education (1986), AICTE be vested with statutory authority for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through accreditation, funding in priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards and ensuring coordinated and integrated development and management of technical education in the country.
- Constitution of the Technical Education Committee of the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) of 1943;
- Preparation of the Sergeant Report of 1944; and
- Formation of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1945 by the Government of India.
The Government of India (Ministry of Human Resource Development) also constituted a National Working Group to look into the role of AICTE in the context of proliferation of technical institutions, maintenance of standards and other related matters. The Working Group recommended that AICTE be vested with the necessary statutory authority for making it more effective, which would consequently require restructuring and strengthening with necessary infrastructure and operating mechanisms.
Pursuant to the above recommendations of the National Working Group, the AICTE Bill was introduced in both the Houses of Parliament and passed as the AICTE Act No. 52 of 1987. The Act came into force w.e.f. March 28, 1988. The statutory All India Council for Technical Education was established on May 12, 1988 with a view to proper planning and coordinated development of technical education system throughout the country, the promotion of qualitative improvement of such education in relation to planned quantitative growth and the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standards in the technical education system and for matters connected therewith.
The purview of AICTE (the Council) covers programmes of technical education including training and research in Engineering, Technology, Architecture, Town Planning, Management, Pharmacy, Applied Arts and Crafts, Hotel Management and Catering Technology etc. at different levels.
In accordance with the provisions of the AICTE Act (1987), for the first five years after its inception in 1988, the Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India was the Chairman of the Council. The first full time Chairman was appointed on July 2, 1993 and the Council was re-constituted in March 1994 with a term of three years. The Executive Committee was re-constituted on July 7, 1994 and All India Boards of Studies and Advisory Boards were constituted in 1994-95. Regional Offices of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, located at Kolkata, Chennai, Kanpur and Mumbai were transferred to AICTE and the staff working at these offices were also deputed to the Council on foreign service terms w.e.f. October 1, 1995. These offices functioned as secretariats of Regional Committees in the four regions (East, South, North and West). Three new Regional Committees in southwest, central and northwest regions with their secretariats located at Bangalore, Bhopal and Chandigarh respectively were also established on July 27, 1994. One more Regional Committee in South-Central region with its Secretariat at Hyderabad was notified on March 8, 2007.
The AICTE has its Headquarters in New Delhi and is presently housed in a building having a covered area of 12187 sq. ft. located on 7th Floor, Chanderlok Building, Janpath, New Delhi. Three Departments of the Council are housed in its own building having a covered area of 10630 sq. ft. at IV Floor, East Tower, NBCC Place, Pragati Vihar, New Delhi. The Government of India has allocated 5 acres land in the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, for constructing the administrative and other buildings of the Council
The AICTE comprises of eight Departments, namely:
- Administration (Admin) Bureau
- Academic (Acad.) Bureau
- Engineering & Technology (E&T) Bureau
- Finance (Fin) Bureau
- Management & Technology (M&T) Bureau
- Planning and Co-ordination (PC) Bureau
- Quality Assurance (QA) Bureau
- Research and Institutional Development (R&D) Bureau
For each Bureau, Adviser is the Bureau Head who is assisted by technical officers and other supporting staff. The multidiscipline technical officers and staff of the Council are on deputation or on contract from various Government Departments, University Grants Commission, academic institutions etc.