By Sanjeev Sundriyal : Education is indeed the very foundation of a society which brings economic wealth, social prosperity and political stability. A modern and well developed society can become a possibility when quality of education is improved. In other words education is the very basis of development for a modern society and in this connection the role of technical education is very important.
Technical Education plays a pivotal role in human resource development of the country by creating skilled manpower, enhancing industrial productivity and improving the quality of life. It offers many courses and programmes in engineering, technology, management, architecture, town planning, pharmacy and applied arts & crafts, hotel management and catering technology. In our country there are many institutes which offer technical education. These institutions are funded by the Central Government, State Government/State-funded Institutions & Self-financed Institutions. Among them, there are 79 centrally funded Institutes of Technical & Science Education.
Several new measures have been taken to implement the Government vision of providing increased access with equity and excellence. Eight new IITs, four new IIMs and ten new NITs have been set up and are functional. IIMs at Udaypur & Kashipur would become functional from 2011-12.
Technical Education through different Programme envisages strengthening the Institutions to produce high quality engineers for better employability, establish Centers of Excellence for focused applicable research, training of faculty for effective teaching, enhancing Institutional and system Management effectiveness.
The Centrally funded technical Institutions have also implemented Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admission) Act, 2006 from the year 2007-08 which provides 15%, 7-1/2% and 27% reservation in admission for SCs, STs and OBCs respectively. In the Scheme of Community Development through polytechnics, preference is given to training of rural youths/SCs/STs, women, school dropouts and other disadvantaged groups and helps them to obtain need based gainful employment. Scheme for upgrading existing polytechnics to integrate the physically disabled has also been formulated with the aim to integrate physically disabled persons into the mainstream through technical and vocational education. The objective of the Polytechnics under coordinated action for skill development is to enhance employment oriented skilled man power through them. Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided to the State/UT Governments for setting up of 300 new Polytechnics. Out of 300 Polytechnics, financial assistance has been provided to the existing Government/Government aided Polytechnics for strengthening of infrastructure facility and also for construction of women’s hostel. Under the scheme of construction of women’s hostel in Polytechnics, financial assistance has been provided to the existing Government/Government aided polytechnic in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and North-East region. Financial assistance has also been provided to 18 districts of Jammu & Kashmir and 27 districts of North-East Region for establishment of new Polytechnics under the scheme of establishment of new polytechnic in the country in unserved and underserved districts.
In the North-East Region of the country several technical institution like Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (Assam); Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management (RGIIM) Shillong, (Meghalaya); National Institute of Technology (NIT) Silchar (Assam); National Institute of Technology (NIT) Agartala (Tripura); North Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST), Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh); and Central Institute of Technology (CIT), Kokrajhar (Assam) are taking care of the higher education
Since technical education is a key enabler of growth in the country’s economy, it has to adopt a facilitating approach to make technical education accessible, affordable and accountable. A need was felt to introduce flexibility and mobility in the system by inviting public – private partnership for funding. The focus of AICTE is now on decentralized decision making the various reforms introduced in the administrative procedures include strengthening of office procedures improvement in security measures and introduction of e-Governance for enhanced transparency, clarity, easy and assured communication.
Technical Education provides various facilities and promotes development in the country in a coordinated and integrated manner. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was set-up in November 1945 as a national level Apex Advisory Body. In the National Policy of Education (1986), AICTE was 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.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 (HMCT) etc. at different level.
There are several schemes for faculty development, namely, Quality Improvement Programme (QIP), Career Award for Young Teachers (CAVT), Emeritus Fellowship, Visiting Professorship, Seminar Grant, Travel Grant, Staff Development Programme, National Doctoral Fellowship, AICTE-INAE Distinguished Visiting Professorship and Financial Assistance to Professional Societies/Bodies. Under the Quality Improvement Programme (QIP), faculty members of degree level institutions are given opportunity to upgrade their qualifications to Master’s and Ph.D. levels. Under the Scheme QIP (polytechnic), polytechnic teachers can pursue Master’s degree programmes.
In an effort to bring in transparency, accountability, efficiency and swiftness in its decision-making process AICTE has launched the web portals of the AICTE and National Board of Accreditation (NBA) at URL://www.aicteindia.org and URL://www.nba-india.org. Some other significant initiatives taken by the AICTE are: Enhancement in seats in Engineering and Management Institutions, Reduction in land requirement norms in Metro & Mega Cities; Establishment of National Board of Accreditation (NBA), as an independent Body of AICTE, for making it eligible for full membership of Washington Accord; Providing 25% flexibility to Management Institutions in allocation of seats amongst different disciplines of Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM),Co-option of foreign Experts on Academic Boards; Conducting of fist Gradual Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT) for Pharmacy Graduates through MS University, Baroda.