Engineering Education in India

Higher Education in India has evolved in distinct and divergent streams with each stream monitored by an apex body, indirectly controlled by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The 415 universities/ institutions, are mostly funded by the state governments. However, there are 24 important universities called Central universities, which are maintained by the Union Government and because of relatively large funding, they have an edge over the others. The engineering education and business schools are monitored and accredited by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) while medical education is monitored and accredited by the Medical Council of India (MCI).

Like-wise, agriculture education and research is monitored by the Indian Council for Agriculture Research. Apart from these, National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) controls all the teacher training institutions in the country. The country has some ace engineering, management and medical education institutions which are directly funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Union Government. Admission to all professional education colleges is done through all-India common admission tests of which the IIT-JEE, AIEEE, CAT and CPMT are the most popular ones. Most of the institutions reserve a small percentage of seats for foreign students.

Growth of Engineering Institutions

India has the potential to be a global technology leader. The Indian economy has been growing at the rate of 9% per year. The Indian industry has also become globally competitive in several sectors and can increase its globalmarket share. A critical factor in this will be the success of the technical education system in India.

Engineering education in India started during the British era and focused mainly on civil engineering. A brief history of engineering education in India is available in the Rao Committee report and the Ministry of Human Resource Development website . The Engineering College at Roorkee (1847), Poona Civil Engineering College at Pune (1854), Bengal Engineering College at Shibpur (1856), Banaras Hindu University (1916), Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur (1920) were some of the earliest engineering colleges established that continue till the present day.

In 1945 the Sarkar Committee was appointed to suggest options for advanced technical education in India. The Sarkar committee recommended the establishment of higher technical institutes based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the four regions of India. This resulted in the setting up of the five Indian Institutes of Technology at Kharagpur (1950), Bombay (1958), Kanpur (1959), Madras (1960) and Delhi (1961) (Delhi was added on to the original four). The All India Council for Technical Education was set up in 1945, to oversee all technical education (diploma, degree and post-graduate) in the country.

Major Branches of Engineering

Acoustic Engineering : Designing of buildings and rooms to make them quiet, improving conditions for listening to speech and music in auditoriums and halls and developing techniques and sound absorbing materials to reduce noise pollution

Aerospace Engineering : Developing of various technologies relating to aircrafts, spaceships and missiles that are designed for flight in the earth’s atmosphere and in outer space

Aeronautical Engineering : Applying engineering principles and techniques to the design construction and operation of aircrafts

Agricultural Engineering : Designing agricultural equipment, erosion control and irrigation and land conservation projects, and processing, transporting and storing of agricultural products

Automobiles Engineering : Developing various technologies relating to automobiles and other motor vehicles and their design and management of production

Biomedical Engineering : Applying engineering techniques to health related problems

Chemical Engineering : Deals with the large-scale processing of chemicals and chemical products for industrial and consumer uses

Civil Engineering :

Computer Engineering : Developing and improving computers, storage and printout units and computer information network

Electrical Engineering : Developing, producing and testing of electrical and electronic devises and equipment, such as, generators to produce and distribute electricity, electric motors and other electrical machinery, transmission lines

Electronics Engineering : Concerns the production of communication equipment, computers, medical and scientific instruments, radar, radio and TV sets

Environmental Engineering : Overall efforts to prevent and control air, water, soil and noise pollution using various engineering techniques

Industrial Engineering : Applying engineering analysis and techniques to the production of goods and techniques more particularly mathematical models developed on computer to simulate flow of work through the organisation and to evaluate the effects of any proposed changes (see also ProductionEngineering)

Instrumentation and Control Engineering : Designing and using scientific instruments for purpose, such as, communication, control, computation, direction, or measurement

Marine Engineering : Concerns the production of propelling machinery and auxiliary equipment for use on ships

Materials Engineering : Concerns the structure, properties, production and use of various material – metallic and non-metallic including synthetic) – Substances

Mechanical Engineering : Concerns production transmission and the use of mechanical power, designing, operating and testing of all kinds of machines

Metallurgical Engineering : Separating metals from their ores and preparing them for use, i.e., refining them to a pure state (extractive metallurgy) and converting refined materials into useful finished products (physical metallurgy)

Mining Engineering : The integrated application of multiple scientific and engineering disciplines to the extraction of natural materials from the earth’s crust

Naval Architecture : The design and construction of ships and other vehicles

Nuclear Engineering : The handling, control and application of nuclear materials and reactors for generating useful energy

Ocean Engineering : The design and installation of all kinds of equipment used in oceans

Petroleum Engineering : The production, storage and transporting petroleum and natural gas

Production Engineering : The design and operation of productive processes and facilities (see also Industrial Engineering)

Textile Engineering : Concerns machinery and processes used to produce both natural and synthetic fibres and fabrics

Transportation Engineering : The efforts to make transportation safer, more economical and efficient.


India has some very bright spots of excellence in its technical education sector. The IITs and their alumni command great respect in the global market. India’s second-tier engineering schools are also well-regarded, and have excellent faculty and student bodies. However, with an average of one new engineering college opening its doors a week, the AICTE appears to be struggling to maintain the standards of excellence set by India’s top institutions.

As the Rao Committee report has pointed out, the AICTE needs to focus on ensuring that its standards are met at already existing institutions, new institutions are opened in areas that need them, substandard institutions are closed and that faculty shortages are reversed by investing in postgraduate education and encouraging talented students to remain in India to pursue careers in academia