The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is the statutory body and a national-level council for technical education, under Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development. Established in November 1945 first as an advisory body and later on in 1987 given statutory status by an Act of Parliament, AICTE is responsible for proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education and management education system in India. The AICTE accredits postgraduate and graduate programs under specific categories at Indian institutions as per its charter.
It is assisted by 10 Statutory Boards of Studies, namely, UG Studies in Eng. & Tech., PG and Research in Eng. and Tech., Management Studies, Vocational Education, Technical Education, Pharmaceutical Education, Architecture, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Information Technology, Town and Country Planning. The AICTE has its new headquarters building in Delhi on the Nelson Mandela Road, VasantKunj, New Delhi, 110 067, which has the offices of the chairman, vice-chairman and the member secretary, plus it has regional offices at Kanpur, Chandigarh, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bhopal, Baroda, Kolkata, Guwahati, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
In its 25 April 2013 judgment the Supreme Court said “as per provisions of the AICTE Act and University Grants Commission (UGC) Act, the council has no authority which empowers it to issue or enforce any sanctions on colleges affiliated with the universities as its role is to provide guidance and recommendations.Subsequently AICTE was getting approval from the Supreme court to regulate technical colleges on a year to year basis till January 2016, when AICTE got blanket approval for publishing the Approval Process Handbook and approve technical colleges including management for the session 2016-17 and in all future sessions.”
The AICTE Act of 2004
AICTE is vested with statutory authority for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through school 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 as part of the AICTE Act No. 60 of 2004.
The AICTE Act, stated verbatim reads:
To provide for establishment of an All India council for Technical Education with a view to the proper planning and co-ordinated development of the 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 AICTE comprises following bureaus, namely:
- e-Governance (e-Gov) Bureau
- Approval (AB) Bureau
- Planning and Co-ordination (PC) Bureau and Academic (Acad) Bureau
- University (UB) Bureau
- Administration (Admin) Bureau
- Finance (Fin) Bureau
- Research, Institutional and Faculty Development (RIFD) Bureau
- Apart from this there are 10 Board of Studies dealing with technician, vocational, undergraduate engineering, postgraduate engineering and research, architecture, town and country planning, pharmacy, management, applied arts and crafts, hotel management and catering technology education.
For each bureau, adviser is the bureau head who is assisted by technical officers and other supporting staff. The multidiscipline technical officer and staff of the Council are on deputation or on contract from government departments, University Grants Commission, academic institutions, etc.
In 2016 three important initiatives were taken up by AICTE. First one was a responsibility given by MHRD to evolve a national MOOCs platform SWAYAM. Second one is that of launching a Smart India Hackathon-2017 challenging the young bright talented students of technical colleges to solve the 598 problems of 29 different Government departments. Third one is that of launching of an AICTE’s Student Start up Policy by Hon. President on Nov 16, during visitors conference from rashtrapatiBhavan. In 2009, the Union Minister of Education formally communicated his intentions of closing down AICTE and related body, the University Grants Commission (UGC). This later led to reforms in the way the AICTE approves institutes, and to establishing the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) as an independent body. As of 2013 the AICTE still operates.
On June 6, 2017, Prime Minister NarendraModi announced that the AICTE along with the University Grants Commission would be scrapped and replaced by a new body called Heera (Higher Education Empowerment Regulation Agency (HEERA). This has been done in a bid to simplify the excessive regulations that exist due to both these bodies.