Monday, March 7, 2011


Posted Date: 03 Jun 2008 | Author: b.thirumaya prabhu

Engineering education, unlike other types of professional education, has not had a long history. Though the ancients and medievals had built large brick and stone houses, castles, cities and huge temples, bad constructed long highways and aqueducts and dug canals, which show considerable knowledge of what are now earned civil and hydraulic engineering and of properties of building materials, this knowledge must have been derived empirically. Beginnings of mechanical engineering are to be found in the manufacture and use, of tools, means of transport, simple machinery like lathes, and weapons of offence and defense. Rudiments of chemical engineering are to be seen in the old metallurgical practices. But there were no organised schools for teaching apprentices the use of machinery or knowledge of processes; knowledge passed from generation to generation of craftsmen and artificers, by word of mouth, and was thus confined to castes and guilds. 

The Industrial Revolution With the advent of the Industrial Age, which was ushered in by the discovery of the steam engine by James Watt about 1780, and the ability to, generate and to handle large amounts of power rendered possible by the invention of the steam engine, men passed from dependence on human labour and hand tools to large and complicated machinery ; production of commodities passed from cottage workshops to factories. 

Transportation by bullock-carts, horse-driven carriages, and wind or man driven boats, gave way to railroads and steamships. All this necessitated the construction of large machines, engines, ships and carriages, and gave rise to problems of industrial finance and labour.

Early Engineering School in Europe-While inventive genius was called upon to devise new kinds of machines and to handle new types of processes, the craftsmen and artisans were called upon to put these designs into actual practice. They were asked to test and handle these machines and to repair them whenever necessary. The engineer was thus evolved from two different streams- first from the artisans and craftsmen on one side, who belonged to the lower orders of the less specialised society of the last century, and on the other side from the genteel class who had knowledge of sciences, and had acquired habits of disciplined and organised thinking. 

Sometimes the two types merged in the same person i.e. the craftsman taught himself science, and learnt to think and invent, (e.g., James Watt); or the man with scientific definite objective 9 e.g., Sadi Carnot).

It was soon found that it was not possible to depend upon unlettered mechanics and craftsmen to manufacture, according to designs given to them, the new types of machines which were constantly coming into use, or upon apprentices to handle these machines properly, unless they were instructed in their use. Schools for general education of craftsmen and artisans, and for teaching apprentices the use of machines were founded by John Anderson at Glasgow about 1790, and Dr. Birkbeck in London in 1823. 

Anderson's university ultimately became The Royal Technical College, Glasgow. Amongst the universities, Cambridge took the lead in admitting engineering to the rank of university education. France started technical education about the same time (1794) when Ecole des Traveaux Publiques, later Ecole Polytechnic, was founded. In the U.S.A. the first technical school was founded at Bowdoin College, Maine in 1823, but this did not live along. The oldest surviving technical institute in the U.S.A is the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy (New York State), which was founded in 1823, and started giving degrees in civil engineering in 1835. Germany started late, but it built up, after the Franco-Prussian war a chain of technological institutes (culminating in the Technische Hochschules) which provided for the teaching of all grades of men from craftsmen to researchers, and this was mainly responsible for the great technical and industrial superiority of Germany which was noticed during the first world war. The great Technische Hochschule at Charlottenburg, Berlin was founded in 1879, as part of the university, but was later separated from it for the sake of administrative convenience. 

The success of this institution led to the foundation of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London by the amalgamation of a number of smaller institutes in 1907. "By the terms of its Charter the Imperial College stands alone in being specially charged to develop postgraduate studies in their application to industries." (Universities Quarterly, Vol. 2, 1948).

Growth of Engineering Sciences

The nineteenth century has witnessed the birth of many branches of engineering and technology in addition to the classical ones of civil and mechanical.

The range of development in engineering and technology is illustrated by the following lists of separate engineering fields which are recognised and in which four or five years of under-graduate courses leading to a degree are offered in American universities and colleges. Within each one of the fields, there are further sub- divisions and specialisations, each being the subject of special postgraduate study and research.

Technology and engineering are products of fundamental discoveries in basic sciences, and as is well known, these began to accumulate in the late nineteenth and in the twentieth centuries and in greater variety than in all the previous 50 centuries of civilised life. Inventive genius in Europe and America tried to utilise these science for new industries, and for other human needs. Thus new branches of engineering began to grow. To give a few examples:

Electrical engineering which now claims as many as, or more professionals and students than the older branches of civil or mechanical, started actually from the year 1882, when Edison built the first central electric power house to supply electrical power to factories, and light and power for domestic use to dwellers of a city The discovery of the law of electromagnetic induction was made by Faraday in 1831, but it required work of a half a century to put the discovery to practical use.

With the multiplication of the number of e electrical power houses, and with the long distance transmission of power, the demand for men trained in the use of electrical machinery and acquainted with the fundamentals of the science began to grow, find the universities and technical colleges began to introduce courses in electrical engineering. But only one or two colleges are known to have introduced electrical engineering courses earlier than 1880. So rapid has been the progress in this field that the number of electrical engineers, technicians and craftsmen in the U.S.A. is now estimated to be nearing the million mark. The same is trite of automotive engineering which dates from the time of the discovery of the internal combustion engine by Otto in 1870. Rudiments of chemical engineering were known in earlier metallurgical practices, but the great discoveries in organic, physical and inorganic chemistry subsequent to 1880, led to more and more large scale chemical industries. Chemical engineering courses began to be introduced about 1890, almost simultaneously in the German Technische Hoschschules and in great American Technical Colleges like the Massaschusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). The first courses were introduced in England in the Imperial College of Science and Technology in 1911.

Electrical engineering is a typical example of this change. For about 20 years it dealt mainly with electrical power generation, transmission and utilisation. With Marconi's discovery of wireless telegraphy (1898), electrical engineers began to study and watch the progress of Radio Communication. In some, university and technical colleges, the new science began to be pursued as a subject for post-gradate study and research. Then came the discovery of the use of triode valves in 1914 which revolutionised radio communication, and made broad- casting possible. This led to the need for a large number of engineers trained in the fundamentals of radio communications, and in the use of the necessary appliances. So universities and technical colleges were called upon to open undergraduate classes for the training of radio engineers.

Many developments of electrical engineering have emerged, such as power plant and transmission engineering, radio communication, telephone communication, electronics, electrical calculating machines, electric railway engineering, electrical recording apparatus, electricity and electronics in medicine, and surgery, electrical control apparatus, servo-mechanisms and many others.

These subdivisions of the engineering field illustrate how a mature economy develops a great variety of ways for controlling and using the processes and resources of nature. The great productiveness of a country like America is due less to possession of natural resources than to the development of a wide range of skills. Thus three basic types of engineering have developed into numerous new technologies, which have tended to become independent field.

The engineer should be alert for any fundamental discovery winch may be, turned to practical use and for betterment of the processes he is using. The structure of engineering education should be such that when opportunities occur it will be possible for the country or the industries to collect requisite personnel, from technicians to executive engineers, to turn the discovery to use within as short a period as possible. Such a set-up of engineering education existed in Germany, and exists in the U.S.A., but not in the United Kingdom, of which the Indian system was for long a bad and obsolete copy. Thus though many of the great and fundamental discoveries which led to Radar and Atomic Energy utilisation were made by British physicists, their large scale utilisation was for war purpose was possible only in America, where the requisite personnel of all types could be assembled and set to work*2. The British recognized this defect in their structure of Engineering and Technological Education during the course of the last way, Their Ministry of Education set up a committee under Lord Eustace Percy "To advise the Ministry on the needs of higher technical education in England and Wales, with particular attention to the means required for maintaining appropriate co-operation between universities and technical colleges."
Engineering and Technological Education in India up to 1920

The Beginnings of Engineering Education in India.-The impulse for creation of centres of technical training came from the British rulers of India, and it arose out of the necessity for the training of overseers for construction and maintenance of public buildings, roads, canals, and ports, and for the training of artisans and craftsmen for the use of instruments, and apparatus needed for the army, the navy, and the survey department. The superintending engineers were mostly recruited from Britain from the Cooper's Hill College, and this applied as well to foremen and artificers; but this could not be done in the case of lower grades- craftsmen, artisans and sub-overseers who were recruited locally. As they were mostly illiterate, efficiency was low. The necessity to make them more efficient by giving them elementary lessons in reading, writing, arithmetic, geometry, and mechanics, led to the establishment of industrial schools attached to Ordnance Factories and other engineering establishments.

While it is stated that such schools existed in Calcutta and Bombay as early as 1825, the first authentic account we have is that of an industrial school established at Guindy, Madras, in 1842, attached to the Gun Carriage Factory there. A school for the training of overseers was known to exist in Poona in 1854.

Meanwhile in Europe and America, Colleges of Engineering were growing up, which drew to them men having good education, and special proficiency in mathematical subjects. This led to discussions in Government circles in India, and similar institutions were sought to be established in the Presidency Towns.

The first engineering college was established in the U.P. in 1847 for the training of Civil Engineers at Roorkee, which made use of the large workshops and public buildings there that were erected for the Upper Ganges Canal. The Roorkee College (or to give it its official name, the Thomason Engineering College) was never affiliated to any university, but has been giving diplomas which are considered to be equivalent to degrees. In pursuance of the Government policy, three Engineering Colleges were opened by about 1856 in the three Presidencies. In Bengal, a College called the Calcutta College of Civil Engineering was opened at the Writers' Buildings in November 1856; the name was changed to Bengal Engineering College in 1857, and it, was affiliated to the Calcutta University. It gave a licentiate course in Civil Engineering. In 1865 it was amalgamated with the Presidency College. Later, in 1880, it was detached from the Presidency College and shifted to its present quarters at Sibpur, occupy in the premises and buildings belonging to the Bishop's College.

Proposals for having an Engineering College at Bombay city having failed for some reasons, the overseers' school at Poona eventually became the Poona College of Engineering and affiliated to the Bombay University in 1858. For a long time, this was the only College of Engineering in the Western Presidency.

In the Madras Presidency, the industrial school attached to the Gun Carriage Factory became ultimately the Guindy College of Engineering and affiliated to the Madras University (1858).

The educational work in the three Colleges of Sibpur, Poona, and Guindy has been more or less similar. They all had licentiate courses in civil engineering up to 1880, when they organised degree classes in this branch alone. After 1880, the demand for mechanical and electrical engineering was felt, but the three Engineering Colleges started only apprenticeship classes in these subjects. The Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute, which was started at Bombay in 1887, had as its objective the training of licentiates in Electrical, Mechanical and Textile Engineering

In 1915, the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, opened Electrical Engineering classes under Dr. Alfred Hay, and began to give certificates and associateships, the latter being regarded equivalent to a degree.

In Bengal, the leaders of the Swadeshi Movement organised in 1907 a National Council of Education which tried to organise a truly National University. Out of the many institutions it started, only the College of Engineering and Technology at Jadavpur had survived. It started granting diplomas in a mechanical and engineering course in 1908, and in chemical engineering in 1921.

The Calcutta University Commission, debated the pros and cons for the introduction of degree courses in mechanical and electrical engineering. One of the reasons cited, form the recommendations of the Indian Industrial Commission (1915, under the Chairmanship of Sir Thomas (Holland) against the introduction of electrical engineering courses is given in the following quotation from their report*1: "We have not specifically referred to the training of electrical engineers, because electrical manufactures have not yet been started in India, and there is only scope for the employment of men to do simple repair work, to take charge of the running of electrical machinery, and to manage and control hydroelectric and steam-operated stations. The men required for these three classes of work will be provided by the foregoing proposals for the training of the various grades required in mechanical engineering. They will have to acquire in addition, special experience in electrical matters, but, till this branch of engineering is developed on the constructional side, and the manufacture of electrical machinery taken in hand, the managers of electrical undertakings must train their own men, making such use as they can of the special facilities offered for instruction at the engineering colleges and the Indian Institute of Science".

The credit of first starting degree classes in mechanical and electrical engineering and in metallurgy belong to the University of Banaras, thanks to the foresight of its great founder, Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya (1917).

About fifteen years later, in 1931-32, the Bengal Engineering College at Sibpur started mechanical engineering courses, electrical engineering courses in 1935-36, and courses in metallurgy in 1939-40. Courses in these subjects were also introduced at Guindy and Poona about the same time.

Quite a number of engineering colleges have been started since August 15, 1947. It is due to the realisation that India has to be come a great industrial country, and would require a far larger number of engineers than could be supplied by the older institutions. In some cases, existing lower type institutions have been raised to the status of degree-giving colleges.

The last half of this century has transformed our environment, perhaps radically, and brought more changes in our lives and thinking than in any corresponding period in history. These are the consequences of discoveries of sciences and applications of technology. The concept of absolute knowledge in the sense of storing all knowledge is perhaps no more relevant today. Our efforts for reconciling the traditional concepts and ways with the demands of technological age cannot provide simple solutions for our difficulties and complexities based on such stored knowledge. Frontiers of knowledge are themselves expanding rapidly making it possible to device newer and more efficient methods of solving problems of the society. Education must therefore make efforts for securing knowledge and mastering modern skills and methods than merely storing and distributing the traditional ones. For this purpose of training of mind and mastering of skills and for harnessing science and technology to profitable and productive processes of economic growth and social well-being, the technological education system has to be continuously reviewed and adopted. This has indeed been the basis of our efforts during the last three decades, the result is that there is a well-organised structure and a wide network of technical institutions offering different types of programmes: craftsman courses, technician (diploma) courses, graduate and post- graduate courses, etc., catering to the various levels of knowledge, skills and competences required by the economy.


Vocational Training - Training is imparted in 32 Engineering and 22 non-engineering trades approved by the National Council for Training in Vocational Trades to young people within the age group of 15 to 25 years. For this purpose 357 Industrial Training Institutes with an overall capacity of 1,55,000 training places have been established in the various parts of the country. Period of training ranges from 1 year to 2 years. The Industrial Training Institutes are also used as Basic Training Centres for the Apprenticeship Training Programmes under the Apprentices Act 1961. The 103 trades designated under the Apprentices Act follow our national classification of occupations and cover 216 industries.

Craft Instructor Training - There are seven Central Training Institutes for training of Instructors under the Directorate General of Employment and Training. These Institutes conduct regular, refresher and retraining programmes for the Craft Instructors in various engineering and non-engineering trades. The Instructor- trainees are deputed mostly by the various Industrial Training Institutes and Industrial Establishments in the country.

At the end of the last decade, it was realised that higher or advanced levels of skills were required by the industry both in Public and Private sectors for working on the more modern and highly specialised type of machine tools and equipment coming to be used extensively. To meet this need the following institutes have been established:-

(i) Advanced Training Institute, Madras-The advanced Training Institute, Madras, imparts training in Advanced Vocational skills such as Tool Design, Tool and Die-Making, Heat Treatment, Metallurgy, Machine Tool Maintenance and Advanced Welding etc.

(ii) Foreman Training Institute, Bangalore - The Foreman Training Institute, Bangalore imparts training not only in developing further skills but also in managerial skills for first line supervisors.

(iii) Central Staff Training and Research Institute, Calcutta-The Central Staff Training and Research Institute set up at Calcutta is charged with the responsibility of conducting training programmes for officers and staff of the Central and State Governments and from industry, who control, regulate and direct Vocational and Apprenticeship Training Programmes. This Institute is also involved in the Research and Developmental activities in the field of vocational Training.

(iv) Advanced Training Institute in Electronics, Hyderabad-The Advanced Training Institute in Electronics, Hyderabad, has been set up last year to provide training at Craftsmen and Technician level for the electronic personnel required in the country.

Post-Matric Technical Education - Diploma level courses for the training of middle level man power needed for a wide range of professional duties, for application of knowledge in field operation, in production and construction, testing and development etc., and such functions are offered in 291 polytechnics with an annual enrolment capacity of about 50,000 students. They offer a variety of specialization in engineering and technology as well as in a few non- technological fields. The courses are normally of three years duration where full-time institutional instruction is offered and 31/2 to 4 years when instruction is on a Sandwich or on part-time basis. Recently a number of diversified courses and facilities for evening part-time education have also been provided in some polytechnics situated in metropolitan cities where the demand for such courses exists.

About two dozen Women Polytechnics with courses of special interest to, and employment potential for, women, have also been established, particularly to cater to the needs of the socially/ economically inhibited classes who might be reluctant to take advantage of the facilities generally available in the regular polytechnics.

The products of the diploma courses are expected to take up supervisory positions in field and industry.


Degree level-For the professional engineers and technologists, facilities for technical education are available in 141 engineering colleges offering courses leading to the award of Bachelor Degree in Engineering and Technology. The total admission capacity annually for these courses is of the order of 25,000. The duration of most of these degree courses is five years and with the new pattern of Secondary Education of 10+2, it is expected to change over completely by 1981-82 to a duration of four years.


Post-Graduate Courses-For the benefit of those who have higher level academic achievements as also for under taking research and development activities in engineering and technology, post- graduate courses have been offered widely in the various selected institutions offering degree courses. The number of the institutions offering such post-graduate courses is 65 with an annual intake capacity of about 2,000. These courses normally lead to the Master's Degree in the concerned discipline and are of two years duration. Facilities also exist at these centres offering part-time courses at the Post- graduate level for those who are already in service. Duration of such courses normally is three years.


Management Education- Any effort at improvement of the utilisation of available resources and maximisation of results has necessarily to take into account better concepts of management and organisational development of the system as a whole. With this in view a chain of institutions numbering about 30 mostly in the University sector offering management courses both at the First Degree and Advanced levels has been started. The courses offered at the various institutions to date cover training at the Master's Degree level for the M.B.A. degree with an annual admission capacity of about, 1000.


As has been mentioned above, the Vocational Training/Craftsmen Courses are offered at the Industrial Training Institutes. The Diploma courses are offered in the Polytechnics which are widely spread over all the States and Union Territories and are affiliated to the respective State Boards of Technical Education who lay down in general the levels and standards of the courses and guide the system of evaluation of the students appearing at the examination. Degree and Post-Graduate courses are offered in colleges affiliated to the various Universities, certain University Departments, and institutions declared as of national importance or as deemed Universities.

Indian Institutes of Technology- These are our apex institutions for engineering education and research. Each Institute conducts a First degree course and Master's Degree course in a wide range of subject fields, and also offers facilities for Research and Doctoral work. The main emphasis at the Institutes is on the Post-Graduate studies and Research with an inter-disciplinary approach. To this end each Institute has developed good departments of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Social Sciences which inter-act with the departments of Engineering and Technology. The student enrolment at the Institutes at the Undergraduate level is limited to 1250 and admission at the Post-Graduate level is designedly kept at about the same order as in the under-graduate courses. The Institutes are in various stages of consolidation and development. As part of the national plan of science and technology, five Centres of Advanced Study and Research have been set up in the Indian Institutes of Technology in Energy Studies (Delhi), Material Science (Kanpur), Cryogenic Engineering (Kharagpur), Ocean Engineering (Madras) and Resource Engineering (Bombay).

Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore- The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore the oldest and leading post-graduate and research centre in Science and Engineering has facilities in special fields which include Electronics and Communication Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Heat and Power Engineering, High Voltage Engineering, Power Engineering, Bio-Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. A major Centre in Automation and Control Systems and another in Electronics Design Technology are in the process of establishment.

Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) - In order to strengthen science education & research in the country, the Government has setup three IISERs. Two IISERs at Pune and Kolkata commenced their academic session in 2006 while the third one at Mohali started its session in August, 2007. The vision of these institutes encompasses creation of research universities of the highest caliber in which teaching and education in basic sciences will be totally integrated with state-of-art research. The Institutes offer Integrated Master's Programmes (5 Years) (after 10+2) and when fully established will also offer Integrated Doctoral Programmes (after B.Sc) (5 Years plus) and Conventional Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Programmes in the areas of Physical Science, Chemical Science, Mathematics, Material Science, Environment & Earth Science and Computer Science. Admission into IISERs are based on IIT-JEE merit list. 72 candidates have been offered admission in IISER, Kolkata, 62 in IISER Pune and 36 in IISER, Mohali for the session commencing in August, 2007.

National Institutes of Technology - Seventeen Regional Engineering Colleges (REC's) were established in various States as a joint and co-operative enterprise of the Central and the State Governments concerned. Each REC was to function as an all-india institution admitting students and recruiting faculty from all parts of the country. Fifty percent of the admissions of these institutions (each of which was be meant to equipped for a total annual student intake of 250) was reserved for students from States other than the one in which they are located. In addition to under-graduate courses, these Colleges also offered Post-graduate courses in various fields.

In 2003, the Seventeen erstwhile Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs) were rechristened as National Institute of Technology (NITs) were taken over as fully funded institutes of the Central Government and granted deemed university status. In addition, Central Government has also taken over 3 other Institutes namely Bihar Engineering College, Patna, Government Engineering College, Raipur, and Tripura Engineering College, Agartala, and converted them into National Institute of Technology(NITs) on 28th January 2004, 1st December 2005 and 1st April 2006 respectively. Thus the total number of NITs has gone up to 20. These institutes are expected to be at par with other national level technical institutes and be able to fulfill the demand of high quality undergraduate and postgraduate level of education in engineering and technology. An Act, namely the National Institute of Technology Act, 2007, has since been enacted by Parliament. So as to provide a common statutory framework for all NIT.

The total budget allocation for all NIT's for the year 2006-2007 was increased to Rs. 110.00 crore under Plan and Rs. 200.00 crore under Non-Plan, from about 70.00 crores under Plan and 118.00 crores under Non-Plan at the time of conversion.

State Colleges and University Departments - In addition to the above institutions offering courses at degree and post-graduate level, there is a wide net work of engineering colleges established and administered by the State Governments, Universities and private agencies; they are also affiliated to the respective Universities, and offer degree courses in a variety of subject fields. Some of them are more than a century old and have been pioneers in engineering education in the country. Many of these State colleges and University Departments are making significant contribution in the field of technical education.

Special Institutions - In additions to the above institutions there are certain specialised institutions which offer education/training in specific fields-

Indian Institutes of Management - Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) located at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Lucknow, Indore and Kozhikode are institutions of excellence, established with the objectives of imparting high quality management education and training, conducting research and providing consultancy services in the field of management to various sectors of the Indian economy.

The IIMs conduct Post-graduate Diploma Programmes in Management (equivalent of MBA), fellowship Programmes in Management (equivalent to PhD), Short-term Management Development and Organisation based programmes as well as carry out Research and Consultancy for the industry.
These Institutes conduct research to cater to the needs of non-corporate and under-managed sectors, viz. Agriculture, Rural Development, Public Systems Management, Energy, Health Education, Habitat, etc.

IIMs play a leadership role in the nation’s managerial manpower development and carry out research in emerging areas. These Institutes are recognized as premier management institutions, comparable to the best in the World for teaching, research and interaction with industries. IIMs being Role Models have shared knowledge and skills with other institutions to improve their quality and standards in management education. IIMs have earned an international reputation for the quality of their alumni.

National Institute of Industrial Engineering, Bombay - Offers a two years post-graduate programme in Industrial Engineering as also a number of Executive Development Programmes and Unit based programmes in various areas of specific interest to specific employing agencies.

National Institute of' Foundry and Forge Technology, Ranchi - Offers a special post-graduate training programme of 12-18 months duration in Advanced Foundry and Forge techniques for personnel from the industry.

Indian School of Mines University , Dhanbad - Which has been declared a deemed University is a specialised Centre for Undergraduate and Post- graduate studies and research in Mining, Applied Geology, Petroleum Technology and Geo-Physics.

National Institute of Technical Teachers' Training & Research - At Bhopal, Calcutta, Chandigarh and Madras offer special 'training' to serving teachers of polytechnics.

Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering & Technology (SLIET), Longowal, Punjab -The institute was established by the Govt. of India in 1989 in the memory of Late Sant Harchand Singhji Longowal with an objective to provide technical education in emerging areas of Engineering and Technology. SLIET offers 12 certificate, 10 diploma, 8 degree and 3 PG Courses. The affiliation of this institute is with the Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar. The annual intake of students is 1025.

School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), New Delhi - The School was established by the Government of India in 1955 in the name of School of Town and Country Planning, to provide facilities in education and training in the fields of rural planning, urban planning and human settlement. The School was renamed as the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi in 1959 after the Department of Architecture was included in it. The School was conferred the status of ‘Deemed University’ in 1979. SPA provides undergraduate and post-graduate education and training in the fields of architecture, 
planning, design and management of different aspects of human habitat and environment.

During the academic session 2006-07, 99 students were enrolled in undergraduate courses and 122 students in post-graduate programmes. The School is also conducting research in areas of Town Planning & Architecture. A Centre for Excellence has been inaugurated in the Department of Architecture of the School in collaboration with Autodesk Inc. during the year 2006. A Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed between Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and School of Planning & Architecture, New Delhi. 

The objective is to collaborate with each other in areas of mutual academic interests and further to disseminate knowledge jointly through teaching, research programmes and consultancy work. Besides this, Master’s Degree Course in Building Engineering & Management and Doctoral programmes are also offered leading to Ph.D. degree in disciplines available at the School. The faculty of the School also undertook seven professional/institutional consultancy projects entrusted by the various government departments.

North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST), Itanager-
The Institute was established in the year 1985 to cater to the educational needs of North Eastern Region. The Institute was accorded Deemed University status in the year 2005. 70% seats in the Institute are reserved for seven States of North-Eastern (NE) Region, 20% on merit basis from these States and remaining 10% from all over the country. Now, Sikkim has also been included as eighth member of North-Eastern (NE) States. The Institute offers six Certificate, six Diploma, seven Degree courses & few PG programmes. The courses are of modular pattern having multiple entry and exit options. The Annual intake of student in NERIST is about 1000 students.

Central Institute of Technology, Kokrajhar, Assam - The Central Institute of Technology was set up in 2006 in Kokrajhar District of Assam under Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) by the Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India in pursuance of the Memorandum of Settlement (popularly known as the "Bodo Accord") signed between the Govt of India, Govt of Assam and Bodo Liberation Tigers on 10.02.03. Initially this Institute started with two Diploma courses in Electronics & Communication Engineering (EC) and Computer Engineering (CE). Two more Diploma courses i.e. Food Processing Technology (FT), and Instrumentation & Control (IC) are under consideration for being started from July 2007.


By the end of the Third Plan in 1966, most of the above institutions had been started and it was considered necessary to Jay special emphasis thereafter on consolidation and development of the facilities rather than on setting up of additional institutions. Accordingly a special scheme of Quality Improvement was launched for raising the standards of instruction/training at these institutions. The measures under the Quality Improvement programme included the development of faculty, revision and improvement of curriculum including laboratory practices, and schemes for industrial training and refresher courses for the teachers. Facilities are provided at 14 Centres including the I.I.Ts, Roorkee University, and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore for enrolling serving teachers sponsored by the various institutions/agencies for Master's Degree and Doctorate Degree programmes.

In this effort of updating and upgrading the level and standard of the faculty, provision was also made for appropriate industrial training for periods of 1-3 months. Short-term and Winter Schools offering special orientation courses, refresher courses etc., were also organised both at these advanced centres and others wherever facilities could be identified and organised. So far about 26,000 teachers have taken part in these programmes. (Annexure 'H' gives the number of teachers participating in the Various programmes). Curriculum Development Centres were also set up in respect of the various branches of Engineering and Technology to update the curriculum at the under-graduate level in consultation with the users of the institutional products. These Curriculum Development Centres have also engaged them selves in developing concepts for laboratory lay-out, workshop practice etc.

On a similar analogy of the teachers for degree level institutions, considerable efforts have also gone in for the training of teachers for the technician courses. Because of the large number involved and the specialised training required it was considered to have a specific institutional frame work for this type of programme and accordingly four regional institutions were started for this purpose. These Technical Teacher's Training Institutes at Bhopal, Calcutta, Chandigarh and Madras have been offering a regular two-years course for serving teachers from the polytechnics in the respective regions. This two year programme consists of updating of subjects of the concerned teachers, industrial training and pedagogic training. In addition to these specific programmes, these institutes have also done work in areas of curriculum development, Short-term courses, refresher courses, production of teaching materials and textbooks etc.


Apprenticeship Training Programme - With the sparsely distributed and relatively under-developed industrial base in the country and with a large number of technical institutions having been situated not within the easy access of industrial establishments, it was not possible in the earlier years of planning to arrange for in- industry training of all technical students. Nonetheless it was recognised and it is imperative that the institutional training should be supplemented with appropriate field/industrial training for adequate practical exposure to practical experience. With this end in view a practical training stipends scheme was operated in a limited way in cooperation with the then existing industrial establishments. Later on, however, a massive apprenticeship training programme was introduced in 1962 for the vocational Training level and in 1974 for the Diploma and Degree levels under the Apprentices Act, 1961 as amended. While for the craftsmen course, training is provided within the course framework, the training at the degree and diploma level is provided after the institutional courses for the duration of a year. This is expected to be both an extension of the educational process as also a preparation of the candidates for later employment.


Recognising that opportunities for technical education might have been denied to some on various considerations of economic/ income constraint and other factors, efforts are being made to provide for a vertical advancement of the personnel from one level of a technical education/training to the next higher one. Thus a worker with a National Trade/Apprenticeship Certificate, can take on a diploma course and similarly facilities for some who have a proven ability for academic achievement might go for specialty designed degree courses in some of the institutions. Availability of part-time courses, evening courses, etc., in certain of the Centres also provides for this vertical mobility. These are, however, offered at present on a limited scale and within the structure of diploma/degree courses. Part-time post-graduate courses for serving engineers also cater to those who are desirous of these facilities at higher levels.


Significant as the achievements in creating facilities for technical education in the country over the last three decades are, there appears a good need now for total review of the system that has been built up, with a view to make it more relevant and effective to the national needs. For historical reasons, the technical education system has been more or less inward looking: the impact of the system on the other elements of the economy is yet to be objectively assessed. The professional engineer or technologist is not a solitary individual unconnected with the happenings in the other spheres of the system. Of immediate concern, perhaps, for the professionals is, no doubt, the chosen field of his profession but the interaction with the allied professionals, as also the neighbouring community has also to be taken into account to determine the professionals, place in the whole system.

'Wastage' in the System - To take first the building of the competence of the professional itself, we might try to understand the efficiency with which the system has worked so far. Considerable facilities have been created in the institutions over the last number of years and even on the basis of the non-uniform and separate evaluation results themselves, one is rather constrained to find that there is a large wastage in the efforts put in the institutions. The figures of intake and out turn at the degree and diploma level are given at Annexure 'F', which reveal that the wastage at the degree level is of the order of about 20 to 22 % and at the diploma level nearly 52 %. The figures for the out turn at the degree level include those of the IITs also. Taking into account that the wastage at the IITs is very marginal, the wastage naturally is largely accounted for by the other institutions and we may, therefore, say that this would be of the order of about 30 %. Similarly at the diploma level this is as high as 52 %. These figures, if we remember our experience with the system for the last three decades, are not flattering. The Institute of Applied Manpower Research made a study of this problem some time ago. From a survey made by the Institute of the reaction of a few of the students that had undergone these courses, the possible reasons for wastage were stated to be:

(i) lack of necessary aptitude for the course among the concerned students;

(ii) inadequacy of instructional facilities;

(iii) ineffective teaching, possibly because of the teachers not being trained; and

(iv) a heavy curriculum. Valid as these reasons are even today, there may be many other contributory factors also such as: (i) non-selective admission of students to the institutions;

(ii) changing mix of urban and non-urban background of students without corresponding modifications/orientation of educational methods contributing to the detriment of the non- urban element;

(iii) inadequate utilisation of even the existing instruction facilities;

(iv) in spite of adequate capital investment and hardware provided in the institutions quite often, the lack of appropriate matching provision for adequate departmental operating and training costs;

(v) insufficient development of the correct attitudes to the professional education by both the teachers and the students; and

(vi) external factors, such as lack of motivation because of inadequate or assured employment opportunities at the end of the course.

(3) The intensive study of this problem of wastage is very necessary. This is needed on both academic and planning considerations. Any effort for improvement of existing courses, introduction of new courses, diversification of programmes etc. would be helped a great deal by such feedback information as would be available from such a study. From the planning point of view, any effort to reduce wastage would contribute to the efficiency of the system as such and thus provide for out-turn of additional manpower that may be required without further inputs.

(4) Improvement of the System - Any efforts at improvement of the system have naturally to take into account the various elements which contribute to its weaknesses as mentioned above. Under the " Quality Improvement Programmes " some steps have been taken to tone up that aspect of the system which concerns the teaching-learning process. Apart from these efforts, which, of course, require to be strengthened to a very great extent, there are other steps which might enhance the effectiveness of the system. Some of these are enumerated below :

(a) Special remedial courses for non-urban/non-elite students It would appear that the courses at present offered, based as they are on urban aptitudes, situations and characteristics, tend to cater to the needs of the elitist group. A majority of the students are from the non-urban sectors and from the institutions in the mofussil/interior areas. The background of the students also is not uniform. in that many of the students may be first or second generation learners. Because of the lack of communication facilities on the same basis as his urban counterpart, such a student would require to be given special orientation/remedial course to be brought on par with the other students. Not only that, even the programmes sometimes have to be appropriately changed to suit his non-urban experience and background.

(b) Multiple entry and flexibility - At present the attitude and aptitude of the students who take these professional courses have no obvious relationship with the professional courses offered to them. Quite often both because of the lack of aptitude, or absence of developing the correct attitude, or because of various other factors such as the duration of the course, the sudden change the student has to undergo in the professional courses as compared to his earlier academic experience, etc., have an adverse effect on his performance. Again for reasons beyond one's control or because of economic and social background etc., the student might have taken up a different course and might like to opt for a professional course at a later stage. Even within the professional courses, the student might like to change either the branch or particular study which he has chosen earlier, or the orientation of this particular course. Occasionally the possibility of the student having to migrate from one place to another within the country itself also exists. The present system is rather a straight jacket one, with more or less a single entry point and perhaps a rigid course structure. To allow for different types of contingencies, It is necessary to think in terms of multiple entry points (depending upon the earlier academic/field experience) as well as of flexibility of the course structure and organisation.

(5) Need for review of course content - It is necessary to have a good look at the courses being offered now not merely for the organisational purposes of "graded" facilities. Mere accumulation of information is not knowledge, and complete knowledge by itself does not give the necessary wisdom. The purpose of education is not to produce " educated " individual at one stretch by putting all information and knowledge into course at one time, but, on the other hand, it is to take the individual to progressive stages where he would be in a position to acquire what further information and knowledge he wants for his future activities. If we accept this philosophy, it is to be conceded that what is important is not to " load " the curriculum but to arrange it in such a way that different requirements and needs of the individual's calling are provided in the process of life-long education. The credit system no doubt can go quite some way in this regard. But a deliberate attempt is to be made to recognise the fact that many of those who pursue these courses of studies will remain as technologists whereas quite a few of them might end up as managers. Further even a technologist has to have sufficient insight into the marginal areas of the allied fields, if not in-depth study in that field itself. The course content therefore should be so modified as to allow for the technologist to have an overall view in addition to this core discipline, e.g., the professional may have to have managerial training in addition to his professional calling. The education in our institution campuses should break away from the rigid stand of a unidisciplinary approach and a fixed framework but cater to a larger interest to acquaint and give an insight in various fields of expertise of which the institutional faculty and facilities are capable of, by offering on a massive scale refresher courses, study programmes, etc. Attempts should also be made even in the undergraduate programme to provide for an intensive managerial training for those who desire it within the course frame work apart from those who want to pursue the technological programme. Complementary courses might also be provided for the technologist to acquaint himself with the necessary management techniques and practices, and vice versa.

(6) Diversification, new courses, etc. The infrastructure that has been built up appears to be quite adequate to meet the major requirements of the system for most of the efforts mentioned above. However, with the changing technology and development there may be many areas where specialised personnel are required. Many of the emerging areas have been enumerated in Annexure 'G', for industrial and rural requirements, etc. A cluster of courses might be required, organisation of diversification on a large scale and occasionally new courses also might be called for. This has to be looked into by appropriate agencies taking care at the same time to see that the fresh inputs for any such effort would be marginal and capable of diversion, whenever required. This is easily said than achieved in practice, but nonetheless the issues are important to be considered.

(7) Proliferation of courses - The facilities available at various levels right from the craftsman to the post-graduate level are adequate and any further expansion of these facilities has to be gone into only after a deep study and with caution. The ratio between the graduate, technician and craftsmen in some of the more industrialised economies is of the orders of 1:3:5; facilities for education being also provided for in that order. With us, the facilities provided at the graduate and technician level are in the ratio of 1:2, but in the output the ratio comes down to about 1:1. Organisation of any new course/diversification at one or the other levels has to take into consideration a systematic study of the manpower requirement and utilisation, linked with the occupational structure of the various employing sectors. It is, therefore, necessary to keep this in mind while organising any new course/diversification at any level right from the craftsmen to the post-graduate so that the entire spectrum of activities in the employing fields are kept in mind. This is not to forget the needs of the research and development activities where academic considerations might point to growth potential at a particular level.

(8) Sisterhood programmes - While there is no doubt that certain segments of the Technical Education system have built up strong potential (IITs, University Departments, some of the State Colleges, for example), there are others which are rather weak. It is here that practicable and effective system of cooperation programmes between institutions of different types at different levels are to be organised. Desirable are the programmes of exchange of teachers on short term and long-term, on a massive scale planned in relation to specific levels and goals of development, providing opportunities and appropriate programmes for making available at specific and for known periods the facilities available at the better institutions for the use of the staff of the not-so-well-off institutions, organising of special programmes of refresher courses, extension lectures, etc. by the faculty of the better institutions at the other institutions etc. Efforts at curriculum development, faculty development etc., though now well organised and recognised, have yet to be gone through on a much larger scale and in a more purposeful way. Preparation of manuals for lectures, workshop practice etc., production of text-books, preparation of teaching aids etc. also have to be undertaken by all the institutions by pooling the resources that are available.

(9) Industry-Institution collaboration-For the improvement and further development of the system it is necessary that there is interaction between technical institutions and industry and other field organisations. There has been an awareness of the need for such interaction: creation of agencies such as Industrial Liaison Boards in the States, Co-option of Industrial representatives on the various academic bodies such as the Boards of Management, Boards of Studies etc., and the system of Visiting Professorship/guest lectures etc. has helped to an extent in breaking this ground. But much more remains to be done in this direction. This initiative so far has been with the technical education system with the industry and field organisations, unfortunately, not always showing more than lukewarm interest. This attitude had radically to be changed in that both technical institutions, who produce manpower for the industry and the field organisations, and also the latter themselves are partners in the same enterprise of developing the economy; and it is high time that this responsibility, is duly realised by setting up this interaction. The employing sector should go all out to associate and involve itself in all matters and at all levels of technical education, planning and implementation. On the other hand, the technical education system should make this possible by appropriate incentives and safeguards for such involvement by personnel from the industry and employing organisations. A stage has been reached where purely academic consideration in a system of professional education should not be the criteria in determining about the suitability of personnel for technical education. Sufficient credit should be given by the educational authorities for giving appropriate recognition for field expertise- while considering the faculty requirements. Schemes such as adoption of institutions by industry etc., which have been initiated, should be encouraged totally by the industry.

(10) Improvement of teaching methods-Production of textbooks, other teaching material and teaching aids which have been started now on a small measure have to be considerably stepped up. Manuals for better utilisation of the laboratory and workshop equipment, use of the library as a resource centre both by the teachers and the students have to be encouraged. In all these attempts of preparation of teachers and students materials, emphasis also has to lay on the possible slower comprehension of the non-urban student to the methods employed in the urban situation.

(11) Integration of practical training with the institutional courses-Because of the lack of sufficient 'training' places in industry and field organisations, the provision of training under the Apprenticeship Training Programme has been after the institutional course. For a more effective and coordinated approach, it is necessary to think in terms of integrating the practical/industrial training with the institutional course itself, at appropriate stages of the course. This will lead not only to better supervision but also better comprehension of the field precepts and practices by the student.


In terms of the magnitude of human resources and expertise available and of physical facilities created over the last three decades, the system of technical education has become a formidable reservoir of technical expertise, which, perhaps, no other sphere of the economy has developed in such a concentrated manner. What is, therefore, required is to utilise this bank of expertise for the improvement of the system itself as also for the improvement of other elements of the economy.

2 As pointed out, the potential for technical education system both in terms of human and physical resources are so large that it is worthwhile for us to now think from the national stand-point to have a pooled bank for technical expertise and aid, both for domestic or 'external' purpose. A well organised and processed pool of such resources would be of great advantage for any need in any sector of the economy of the country including the technical education system itself for delivering many of the responsibilities for which now outside help is sought. Indigenous expertise has been sufficiently appreciated and, perhaps, in most of the other countries, we might not have anything better or even as good as what we have among the professionals in the country. Except, therefore, in special fields and areas of highly sophisticated technology, perhaps our expertise could be easily drawn up even for giving appreciable aid to many of the countries in the neighborhood and elsewhere. Concerted efforts have, therefore, to be made to channelise all this expertise available in the technical education system so that it will permit the system to grow vertically and also to support itself since the resources generated that way could not be in any way less considerable. This will also ensure job satisfaction to those who have expertise and higher attainments in sophistic technology and thus brain drain from the country.


As mentioned above, in addition to his own field of specialisation and the group in which he works, the professional has also to discharge his responsibilities satisfactorily both to himself and others in the community. It is necessary, therefore that the professional instead of being in isolation as an individual under training, has also an in built training/education in the environmental aspects so that he will be able to appreciate when he later enters the profession of the various aspects that come to play on his role as a professional in the community.

Even as a professional he is not to be considered as if he is in his ivory-tower. It is necessary that the institutions also are considered as part of the total community activities. While considering the totality of his activity, it becomes imperative that the courses offered at institutions relate to the various demands of the neighbourhood in particular and the community in general, both at present and in the foreseeable future. The education which is offered in the institutions should be of relevance to the various problems that are posed by the society. It is not correct that in their attempts to attain excellence or even the highest standards that the immediate need of the society are forgotten. The various sector such as rural development including food and agriculture, energy, natural resources (water, mineral oils, forests, etc., both renewable and non- renewable), transport and communications all require immediate attention from the institutions and the courses offered therein. Here it should be recognised that this sort of platitudinous statement is easily made than could be practicable. In our current system of technical education, the main elements of human resources, i.e., the faculty expertise and the student power, if these are to be utilised for the benefit and advantage of the community in the specific sectors mentioned above, a great deal of attention is to be paid as to what exact role these elements have to play in the total set up, as otherwise the danger of the institutions degenerating into more social service organisations, forgetting their real objective of technical education and training is always present. The academic curriculum for the students should be so organised as to give appropriate credits for practical projects/ service to be made by the students as part of their curricular programme in the investigations taken up by the faculty in the above sectors. Without dilution of he vigorous and curricular content and bringing to bear upon it professional requirements, the possibilities of dovetailing the investigations in the programmes in institutions has to be worked out carefully. Similarly, the investigations carried out with the existence of the students should be amenable to proper supervisions, scrutiny and appropriate assessment by the faculty who in turn will carry it on further for the benefit of the community without sacrificing the permanent interest of either the institution or the community into which they are looking for the time being. This again underlines the factor that any attempts to take all social projects naturally will have to consider projects of long-term and permanent benefits instead of issues of local popularity or short-term propaganda. This sort of interaction with the problem of the society would help the institution- faculty/the individual students to grow both professionally as also in relevant fields.


Increasing costs - This brings us to the issue of financing of the technical education system as such. By and large, the efforts at building up and development of the system has so far been under official auspices - either Central and/or States. However, looking into the enormous costs involved, the maintenance of these courses/institutions and the increasing prices around of men and material, it would not be difficult to envisage a situation where let alone the sponsored agencies, but even the Government agencies, would find it difficult to adequately meet the rising cost of technical education. This is a matter of serious concern and has to be faced squarely before it is too late when this system which has been built with so much of care might crumble because of lack of adequate attention.

Resource Generation by Technical Institutions-It is true that considerable efforts have to be made by the institutions them- selves for augmenting their resources, by way of various measures for resource generation such as consultancy practice, servicing and testing, production, etc. However, as was pointed out earlier In connection with the involvement of the system in community services, here again one should not lose sight of the primary objective of the system as such. Any attempt at raising the resources should have only a secondary role that too complimentary to the academic culture of the system and not for its own sake. If this obvious principle is accepted then the limitations on the institutions raising their own resources will become evident. So, we are left with the major issue again of the provision of adequate funds for the technical education system. It is here, perhaps, one should consider the ways and means by which large users of the products of the system also share the responsibility adequately for the cost of production. There have been suggestions over the years in this direction for motivation by way of incentives, or raising of resources by levying a technical education cess on the users etc. Certain incentives, of course, have been offered by giving to an extent exemption for industry in Income Tax, towards contribution to educational programmes and for a cess in the research and development establishment for R & D purposes. But, however, this has not resulted in a large shift and on the whole most of the burden has been solely on that of the Government. This has been because technical education has been considered as part of social service and governmental responsibility for the social welfare programmes has had to take care of such programmes. It is now necessary for us to have a detailed and fresh look at this issue.

The Board of Assessment of Qualifications of the Government of India, which also deals with professional qualifications and equivalence of various awards has a limited view of assessment for a specific purpose, i.e., for governmental employment. Further, as it is practiced, the work of the Assessment Board is a sort of one time evaluation based on a minimum requirement.

For a healthy and effective growth, what is required is a sort of continuous and objective assessment aiming at higher and still higher standards. Even though many agencies, particularly, statutory agencies are involved and any such attempt may not be looked upon with unmixed favour, the point 'to be remembered is that we should without further delay, strengthen our system, by identifying the weaknesses and strength of a particular sector/course/institutions so that there is adequate motivation and direction for further improvement. This comprehensive purpose of assessment, not limited for any objective of recruitment by official agencies only, will act as a spur when such evaluation and assessment is done periodically. This agency for accreditation and evaluation of standards should be a national agency, with perhaps, regional and sectoral wings, as may be required. Professional organisations and persons of standing in the profession and representatives of accredited user agencies should be intimately involved in the work of an agency. A system of frequent and periodical evaluation with provision for a graded scale of attainment of individual courses/departments should be the objective. Such an agency might work under the auspices of the Ministry of Education but not as a part of it; it should be an autonomous Organisation so that it would be free to draw upon expertise wherever available.

(3) Monitoring and Information System: Manpower planning- The setting up of such an agency, of course, presupposes the availability and easy flow of the required information from the various organisations to this agency. A national (and regional) agency for such an information system should be built up without further delay. Any monitoring of man power requirements, availability and utilisation, naturally will be depending upon such an information system being readily available.

Anumakonda Jagadeesh comments:

Good article and elaborate reporting on Growth of Engineering and Technology in India. Though there is proliferation of Engineering Colleges in India, facilities in many colleges are lacking which is responsible for poor quality of Engineering Graduates coming out from these Institutes. Quality should be the barometer in Engineering Institutes if they want to compete the best Institutes.

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