Indian Institute of Technology

Indian Institute of Technology

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) are autonomous public institutes of higher education, located in India. They are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which has declared them as institutions of national importance and lays down their powers, duties, and framework for governance etc. The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 lists twenty-three institutes (after the last amendment in 2016). Each IIT is an autonomous institution, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. The Minister of Human Resource Development is the ex-officio Chairperson of IIT Council. As of 2018, the total number of seats for undergraduate programmes in all IITs is 11,279.

The first IIT was set up in Kharagpur in 1951, and soon later in Bombay (1958), Madras (1959), Kanpur (1959) and Delhi (1963). An IIT was then established in Guwahati in 1994. The University of Roorkee was converted to IIT Roorkee in 2001. Eight new IITs were set up in Gandhinagar, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ropar, and Mandi in 2008-09. Following same selection process since 1972, finally in 2012 the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University was given IIT status. Another six new IITs in Tirupati, Palakkad, Dharwad, Bhilai, Goa and Jammu, approved through a 2016 bill amendment were established in 2015-16, along with the conversion of ISM Dhanbad to IIT Dhanbad.  The IITs have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, the Joint Entrance Examination – Advanced, formerly called the IIT-JEE until 2012. JEE Advanced admits students according to their ranks in the exam. The post-graduate level program that awards M.Tech., MS degrees, and the doctoral programme that offers Ph.D. in engineering is administered by the older IITs. M.Tech. and MS admissions are done on the basis of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). Additionally, IITs also award other graduate degrees such as M.Sc in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, MBA, etc. Admission to these programs of IITs is done through Common Admission Test (CAT), Joint Admission Test for M.Sc. (JAM) and Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED). IIT Guwahati and IIT Bombay offer undergraduate design programmes as well. Joint Seat Allocation Authority conducts the joint admission process for a total of 23 IITs, that offer admission for 10,962 seats in 2017.

The history of the IIT system dates back to 1946 when Sir Jogendra Singh of the Viceroy’s Executive Council set up a committee whose task was to consider the creation of Higher Technical Institutions for post-war industrial development in India. The 22-member committee, headed by Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, recommended the establishment of these institutions in various parts of India, with affiliated secondary institutions.

The President of India is the most powerful person in the organisational structure of Indian Institutes of Technology, being the ex officio Visitor, and having residual powers. Directly under the President is the IIT Council, which comprises the minister-in-charge of technical education in the Union Government, the Chairmen of all IITs, the Directors of all IITs, the Chairman of the University Grants Commission, the Director General of CSIR, the Chairman of IISc, the Director of IISc, three members of Parliament, the Joint Council Secretary of Ministry of Human Resource and Development, and three appointees each of the Union Government, AICTE, and the Visitor.  Under the IIT Council is the Board of Governors of each IIT. Under the Board of Governors is the Director, who is the chief academic and executive officer of the IIT. Under the Director, in the organisational structure, comes the Deputy Director. Under the Director and the Deputy Director, come the Deans, Heads of Departments, Registrar, President of the Students’ Council, and Chairman of the Hall Management Committee. The Registrar is the chief administrative officer of the IIT and overviews the day-to-day operations. Below the Heads of Department (HOD) are the faculty members (Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors). The Wardens come under the Chairman of the Hall Management Committee.

The IITs receive comparatively higher grants than other engineering colleges in India. While the total government funding to most other engineering colleges is around Rs. 10–20 crores (USD 2–4 million) per year, the amount varies between Rs. 90 crores –130 crores (USD 18–26 million) per year for each IIT. Other sources of funds include student fees and research funding from industry and contributions from the alumni. The faculty-to-student ratio in the IITs is between 1:6 and 1:8. The Standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC) prescribes the lower limit for faculty-to-student ratio as 1:9, applied department wise. The IITs subsidise undergraduate student fees by approximately 80% and provide scholarships to all Master of Technology students and Research Scholars in order to encourage students for higher studies, per the recommendations of the Thacker Committee (1959–1961). The cost borne by undergraduate students is around Rs. 180,000 per annum. After students from SC and ST categories, physically challenged students will now be the beneficiaries of fee waiver at the IITs in India.

The various IITs function autonomously, and their special status as Institutes of National Importance facilitates the smooth running of IITs, virtually free from both regional as well as student politics. Such autonomy means that IITs can create their own curricula and adapt rapidly to the changes in educational requirements, free from bureaucratic hurdles. The government has no direct control over internal policy decisions of IITs (like faculty recruitment and curricula) but has representation on the IIT Council. The medium of instruction in all IITs is English.The classes are usually held between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm, though there are some variations within each IIT. All the IITs have public libraries for the use of their students. In addition to a collection of prescribed books, the libraries have sections for fiction and other literary genres. The electronic libraries allow students to access on-line journals and periodicals. The IITs and IISc have taken an initiative along with Ministry of Human Resource Development to provide free online videos of actual lectures of different disciplines under National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning. This initiative is undertaken to make quality education accessible to all students.

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