What is technical education

Updated: Jan 23 2006, 05:53am hrs
The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, one of six IIMs in the country, was all set to start a campus in Singapore when the proposal was rejected by the Union ministry of human resource development. Ironically, many foreign universities with dubious credentials have been enticing unsuspecting Indian students with the promise of a foreign diploma/degree, not even recognised here, without ever setting foot abroad. These universities have set up shop here by having tie-ups with Indian partners. Management studies, like many other streams of education here, comes under the broader category of technical education.The IIMs, being autonomous bodies, are an exception. fe takes a Closer Look at some issues concerning technical education in India:

What is technical education

Technical education, as the term suggests, is different from regular education. Its ambit , as per our laws, primarily comprises training and research programmes in sectors like engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, management, pharmacy, applied arts and crafts, hotel management and catering technology,etc.

How is technical education regulated in India

The government constituted the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in 1945 as a national level apex advisory body for conducting a survey on the facilities available for technical education in the country. The aim was to promote development of technical education in a coordinated and integrated way.

In 1986, the government framed the National Policy of Education. In keeping with the policy, AICTE was vested with the statutory authority for planning, formulating and maintaining the norms and standards for technical education in the country. Statutory status was accorded to the council through the AICTE Act, enacted in 1987.

What are the main functions of the AICTE

Its main task is to regulate technical education in the country. As per the regulatory norms introduced from time to time, AICTE approval is required for starting a technical institution, introducing additional degree or diploma courses, increasing intake of students for courses, etc. Rules require even universities and deemed universities to seek AICTE approval before starting a new course or programme.

What are the important conditions institutions need to fulfill before AICTE grants approval

AICTE assesses the financial position of the applicants and also whether the course/ programme for which approval is being sought is really required before giving its nod. Other parameters include the mode of intake of students, fee structure, staff position, etc. The guidelines also include parameters pertaining to land and funds. For setting up an engineering and technology institute in a rural area, the applicant is expected to possess a minimum of 10 hectares (for degree level institution) or 8 hectares (for diploma courses).

In the metros, the requirement is two hectares each for degree or diploma courses. The minimum fund requirement for a degree level institute is Rs 50 lakh and for diploma level institutes Rs 25 lakh.

AICTE may also specify other conditions which are mandatory in nature.

What are the regulations governing the entry of foreign universities

AICTE notified the regulations for the entry and operation of foreign universities/institutions imparting technical education in India in May 2005. These regulations were introduced with the aim of facilitating collaboration and partnerships between Indian and foreign institutions in the field of technical education, research and training.

Under the norms, a foreign university wanting to enter India has to submit a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the AICTE. The DPR has to include details regarding availability of infrastructure facilities, faculty, fee to be charged from students, the admission procedure, course curricula, mode of funding for a minimum period of three years, terms and conditions of collaboration between the foreign university/institution and Indian institution. Subject to the fulfillment of conditions, AICTE can then grant a certificate of registration for the courses to be provided by foreign universities.

What about foreign universities/institutions already operating in India

All foreign universities and institutions will have to seek fresh approval from the AICTE. Students who want to obtain foreign degrees under collaboration/ partnership/twinning mode must check for the validity of the course on the AICTE website. This will help them avoid enrollment in fake courses being offered by those foreign universities/ institutions that are not recognised even in their own countries.