Institute of technology

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Institute of technology, and polytechnic, are designations employed in a wide range of learning institutions awarding different types of degrees and operating often at variable levels of the educational system. It may refer to both an institution of higher education specialising in technology, a vocational education institution specialized in technical education, or a mixture of both. It can be also the name of any secondary education school using that terms, usually focused in vocational training courses. The term polytechnic comes from the Greek πολύ polú meaning "many" and τεχνικός tekhnikós meaning "arts". While the term "institute of technology" is often abbreviated IT, the term is not to be confused with information technology. The designation "institute of technology" is related with the technological character of those institutions. A wide range of terms and school types are seen around the globe, using both names (polytechnic and institute of technology).


[edit] Institutes of Technology vs. Polytechnics

The first institutes of technology and polytechnics have existed at least since the 18th century but became increasingly popular post-World War II with the expansion of technical education, associated with the new needs created by generalized industrialization. In some cases, polytechnics or institutes of technology are engineering schools or technical colleges. More rarely, both polytechnics (as the Polytechnic Universities) and institutes of technology (as the Caltech, Indian Institutes of Technology, MIT and ETH Zurich) are considered universities when they have autonomy to offer masters and doctoral degrees and they are at the same time independent research institutions, these conditions being necessary to be formally considered a university.

The term institute of technology is used in many countries rather than polytechnic, and indeed in these countries the latter term may never have been common (the opposite is also true). For example in Canada the British Columbia Institute of Technology is one such institution, and École de technologie supérieure. Indian Institutes of Technology is used in India to denote a number of specific elite institutes which were based on a post WWII recommendation for industrialisation. In Ireland the term Institute of Technology is more favored now to the term Regional Technical College though the latter is the legally correct term; Dublin Institute of Technology is an institute which is a university in all but name as it can confer degrees in accordance with law. The Federal Institute of Technology located in Zurich, Switzerland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, USA are possibly some of the oldest and best-known institutions to use "institute of technology" in its title and being actually universities.

Although being today generally considered similar institutions of higher learning across many countries, polytechnics and institutes of technology used to have a quite different statute among each other, its teaching competences and organizational history. In many cases "polytechnic" were a former designation for a vocational institution, before it has been granted the exclusive right to award academic degrees and can be truly called an "institute of technology".

Polytechnic type institutions survive in many countries, there is often not the same distinction between polytechnics and universities that was seen in Britain. All over the world, after many legal and curricular reforms, some polytechnics are often seen today as being quite similar to universities in terms of standards and quality. However, many polytechnics are simply a result of a formal upgrading from its original and historical role as intermediate technical education schools. Many former polytechnics have emerged through an administrative change of statutes, which often includes a name change with the introduction of new designations like Institute of Technology, University of Applied Sciences, or University of Technology for marketing purposes<ref>Polytechnic to change its name, By Desie Heita, The Namibia Economist, Retrieved June 2006.</ref> <ref>Name change on the cards for APU, 2006 Anglia Ruskin University, United Kingdom. Retrieved June 2006.</ref>, with limited exceptions.

The emergence of so many upgraded polytechnics, former vocational education and technical schools converted into more university-like institutions like the institutes of technology, polytechnic universities, universities of applied sciences, or universities of technology has caused concern in many countries where the lack of specialized intermediate technical professionals, lead to industrial skill shortages in some fields, being also associated to an increase of the graduate unemployment rate. Other evidence have shown a declining in the general quality of teaching and graduates preparation for the workplace, due to the fast-paced reconversion of that technical institutions to more advanced higher level institutions.<ref>"Producing New Workers: quality, equality and employability in higher education - Quality in Higher Education, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2001", Louise Morley, University of London Institute of Education. Retrieved June 2006.</ref> <ref>First destination graduate employment as key performance indicator: outcomes assessment perspectives, Prof. Johan Bruwer, unit for institutional planning and research, Cape Technikon, South Africa, November 1998. Retrieved June 2006.</ref>

[edit] Australia

See the articles on Education in Australia and Technical and Further Education (TAFE), Category:Australian tertiary institutions and College of advanced education

In Australia the "Institutes of Technology" became founding members of the Australian Technology Network of universities. The Institute of Technology title has since been appropriated by a number of TAFE institutes.

[edit] 1970s-1990s

During the 1970s to early 1990s, the term was used to describe state owned and funded technical schools that offered both vocational and higher education. They were part of the College of Advanced Education system. In the 1990s most of these merged with existing universities, or formed new ones of their own. These new universities generally took the title University of Technology, for marketing rather than legal purposes. AVCC report.

[edit] 1990s-Today

Since the mid 1990s, the term has been applied to some technically minded Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes. These offer vocational education, although some are beginning to offer higher education. This usage of the term is most prevalent in NSW and the ACT. This usage is not widely known in Australia outside these areas, and in such places the older meaning is much more likely to be understood.

[edit] Belgium and the Netherlands

Hogeschool is used in Belgium and Hogere Technische School (HTS) in the Netherlands. The Hogeschool has many similarities to the Ammattikorkeakoulu in Finland and to the Fachhochschule in the German language areas.

The Hogeschool institutions in the Flemish Community of Belgium, such as for example the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel, are now undergoing a process of academization, where they form associations with an university and where research is being integrated in the curriculum, which will allow them to deliver academic master degrees. See Bologna process.

[edit] Canada

[edit] Finland - Ammattikorkeakoulu - Yrkeshögskola

An Ammattikorkeakoulu is the common term in Finland, as is the Swedish alternative "Yrkeshögskola" – their focus is on studies leading to bachelor degree, particularly in technology. After January 1st 2006 some Finnish institutes of technology switched the English term polytechnic to the term University of Applied Sciences in their official names. The Ammattikorkeakoulu has many similarities to the Hogeschool in Belgium and in the Netherlands and to the Fachhochschule in the German language areas. One should not confuse this with korkeakoulu, or "university", for example, Teknillinen korkeakoulu.

[edit] French language areas - Écoles Polytechniques

In the French areas like France, Canada and Switzerland, a Polytechnic is an école polytechnique:

In the French speaking part of Switzerland exists also the term Haute Ecole Specialisee for a type of institution called Fachhochschule in the German speaking part of the country. (see below)

France has some polytechnic type higher education establishments which belong to a group of renowned and specialized institutions called Grandes écoles; they generally have full names starting with École supérieure (higher school) or École nationale (national school), often shortened or summarized into acronyms (for instance, the full name of the École des Mines is École nationale supérieure des Mines de Paris or ENSMP). These schools are the most prestigious higher education institutions in the country. This may lead to some confusion in English-speaking countries, where the term "polytechnic" often carries a more average connotations.

In particular, the École Polytechnique is popularly seen as the most prestigious scientific and technical school in the country (although other schools such as the École Normale Supérieure and the École des Mines might have a better claim to seniority), giving rise to popular expressions such as Pas besoin d'avoir fait Polytechnique pour comprendre ça ("No need to have been to Polytechnique to understand this", to be said of something which should be readily understood).

[edit] German language areas - Fachhochschule and Technische Hochschule

Fachhochschule and Technische Hochschule are the common terms in a number of countries with German influences, these are Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland - the term Fachhochschule is often translated as "University of Applied Sciences" to resect their role. Polytechnic type institutions are widespread in this part of Europe. For example, Germany has 159 Fachhochschule-institutions.

There used to be a differentiation between a Fachhochschule and Technische Hochschule (or Technische Universität) and the Diplom degree of the Fachhochschule is considered below a university degree. However, through the Bologna Process, the Bachelor's, Master's degrees have been made equivalent. The Technische Hochschule focuses more on research and can grant doctoral degrees. The Fachhochschule, in contrast, has many similarities to the Hogeschool in Belgium and in the Netherlands and to the Ammattikorkeakoulu in Finland and can grant Bachelor's, Diplom (FH) and Master's degrees. Additionally the Fachhochschule is also one of the worldwide rare examples of a higher education which in its own form falls also under the (local) definition of vocational education.

[edit] Greece

[edit] India

India has an "Institute of Technology" system referred to as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). These institutions specialise in science and technology. There are currently seven such institutions, which are located in the cities of Kharagpur, Kanpur, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Guwahati and Roorkee. The Joint Entrance Examination IIT-JEE conducted jointly by the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Institute of Technology - BHU (IT-BHU) and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad is one of the toughest science-oriented entrance exams in the world, testing applicants' knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry. The undergraduate acceptance rate is around 2%, with around 200,000 annual test takers. Apart from these premier institutes, there are many other institues of technology (some of which are menioned below) across the entire country which offer equivalent degree courses.

Also India offers students apply to for either a polytechnic or a Junior College after 10 standard. Polytechnics offer three year diploma courses in subjects such as information technology, engineering subjects and other vocational fields. Junior Colleges, on the other hand, offer two year courses in more traditional subjects such as English, History, the pure sciences and others after which students take their 'A'-levels, a university entrance examination.

Other colleges

[edit] Ireland

The Republic of Ireland has an "Institute of Technology" system, formerly referred to as Regional Technical College (RTCs) system - the latter term is still the correct legal term for the colleges when used generically or collectively. These institutions have a similar number of students attending as at Irish universities, and offer subdegree and degree level studies. Some institutions have "delegated authority" that allows them to make awards in their own name, after authorisation by the Higher Education & Training Awards Council.

Dublin Institute of Technology developed separately from the Regional Technical College system, and after several decades of association with the University of Dublin, Trinity College it acquired the authority to confer its own degrees.

See also: Community College

[edit] Italian language areas

Politecnico is the common term used in Italy:

In the Italian speaking part of Switzerland exists also the term Scuola Universitaria Professionnale for a type of institution called Fachhochschule in the German speaking part of the country. (see at "German language areas")

[edit] Japan

See the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology and the Imperial College of Engineering, forerunner of Tokyo University's engineering faculty. See also Technical education in Japan.

[edit] Hong Kong

The first polytechnic in Hong Kong is The Hong Kong Polytechnic, established in 1972 through upgrading the Hong Kong Technical College (Government Trade School before 1947). A second polytechnic, the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong, was founded in 1984. These polytechnics awards diplomas, higher diplomas, as well as academic degrees. Like the United Kingdom, the two polytechnics were granted university status in 1994 and 1995 respectively, and renamed The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the City University of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, a university with a focus in applied science, engineering and business, was founded in 1991.

See also: Education in Hong Kong, List of universities in Hong Kong.

[edit] Malaysia

In Malaysia, polytechnic does not have the power to confer degree or anything higher.

See also: Education in Malaysia.

[edit] New Zealand

New Zealand polytechnics are established under the Education Act 1989 as amended, and are considered state-owned tertiary institutions along with universities, colleges of education, and wānanga; there is today often much crossover in courses and qualifications offered between all these types of institutions. Some have officially taken the title 'institute of technology', while one has opted for 'Universal College of Learning' (UCOL), and another 'Unitec New Zealand' instead. Many if not all now issue at least bachelor-level degrees.

Since the 1990s, there has been consolidation in New Zealand's state-owned tertiary education system. In the polytechnic sector: Wellington Polytechnic amalgamated with Massey University. The Central Institute of Technology explored a merger with the Waikato Institute of Technology, which was abandoned, but later, after financial concerns, controversially amalgamated with Hutt Valley Polytechnic, which in turn became Wellington Institute of Technology. Some smaller polytechnics in the North Island, such as Waiarapa Polytechnic, amalgamated with UCOL. (The only other amalgamations have been in the colleges of education.)

The Auckland University Institute of Technology is the only polytechnic to have been elevated to university status; while Unitec has had repeated attempts blocked.

See also: List of polytechnics and institutes of technology in New Zealand and Education in New Zealand

[edit] Portugal

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Polytechnic Schools (Escolas Politécnicas) were created in the 19th century in Lisbon and Porto, and were merged into the newly created universities of Lisbon and Porto in 1911. The current Polytechnical Institutes started to open after 1974. Currently, there are fifteen state-run polytechnical institutes (the polytechnics) in Portugal and also several other private polytechnic institutions. The designation institute of technology is not applied at all, being meaningless in Portugal. The polytechnical institutes (institutos politécnicos) of Portugal are not universities as they don't have autonomy to award neither masters nor doctoral degrees, and unlike universities, they have not accredited research units. The polytechnical institutes are organized into confederations of polytechnic higher education schools. Since the creation of the first polytechnical institutes that started in the late 1970s, to 1999 after new legislation has been approved for these institutions, the polytechnics were only allowed to offer a three year bachelor degree (bacharelato). In opposition, the Portuguese universities conferred 4 to 6 years major bachelor degrees, known in many countries as licentiate degree (licenciatura). The universities were also the only institutions awarding masters and doctoral degrees in Portugal to graduated people having the licenciatura diploma conferred exclusively in the universities. Due to their limited and well-defined legal statute and purpose, the polytechnical institutes do not have autonomy to offer doctoral degrees, even with the Bologna process implementation (to be in full use in Europe in 2010). However, since the mid 2000s, polytechnic institutions are being allowed to offer masters degrees under cooperation protocols with partner universities, and from 2006 onwards, they can propose to a university of their choice a doctoral degree for their best graduates. Although being in practice one more concession in favour of the polytechnical institutes, these legal rules were fiercely criticized and contested by them, since in their opinion and according to the previous government (Prime Minister António Guterres legislature) policy, some polytechnic institutions have conditions to award the same degrees that universities have conferred. On the other side, there are also education responsibles who do not agree with the criticizers, based on studies, surveys and evaluations conducted by accredited independent organs on the general teaching and researching capabilities of some polytechnical institutes. Several evaluations, surveys and recommendations on the teaching and researching quality of Portuguese universities and polytechnic institutions can be found in this official governmental agencies:

  • CNAVES - Conselho Nacional de Avaliação do Ensino Superior [1]
  • FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia [2].

See also: list of colleges and universities in Portugal and Education in Portugal

[edit] Pakistan

The Polytechnic institutes in Pakistan, offer a diploma spanning three years in different branches. B.Sc in Engineering follows this. A candidate seeking admission in Engineering Institution/University for working towards Bachelor's in Engineering must clear a national wide entrance exam after Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC/HSSC). Some leading Engineering institutes/universities are, University of Agriculture (UAF) Faisalabad, GIK Institute of Science and Technology, National University of Sciences & Technology Rawalpindi (NUST), University of Engineering and Technology Lahore (UETL), National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences,Riphah international university (RIU), University of Engineering and Technology Taxila (UETT)

[edit] Singapore

Singapore retains a system close to that applying in Britain from 1969-1992, distinguishing between polytechnics and universities. Under this system, all Singaporean students sit for their 'O' Level examinations after a four or five years of education in secondary school, and apply for a placing at either a polytechnic or a Pre-university centre. Polytechnics offer three year diploma courses in subjects such as information technology, engineering subjects and other vocational fields. There are a total of 5 polyechnics in Singapore. They are namely:

See also: Education in Singapore

[edit] Thailand

Most of Thailand's institutes of technology are developed from technical college, which at that time cannot granted a Bachelor's degree, to nowadays a university level institute, which some of them can grant degrees to the doctoral level. Examples are Pathumwan Institute of Technology (developed from Pathumwan Technical School), King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (Nondhaburi Telecommunications Training Centre), and King Mongkut's Institute of Technology North Bangkok (Thai-German Technical School).

There are two former institutes of technology, which already changed their name to "University of Technology": Rajamangala University of Technology (formerly Institute of Technology and Vocational Education) and King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi (Thonburi Technology Institute).

Institutes of technology with different origins are Asian Institute of Technology, which developed from SEATO Graduate School of Engineering, and Sirindhorn International Institute of Technology, an engineering school of Thammasat University.

See also: Education in Thailand

[edit] United Kingdom

Polytechnics were tertiary education teaching institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The comparable institutions in Scotland were collectively referred to as Central Institutions. Like other polytechnics, their aim was to teach practical subjects rather than academic. Under the Further and Higher Education Act, 1992 they became fully fledged universities. The designation polytechnic was also, less commonly, used by further education colleges such as Kilburn Polytechnic (later renamed as Kilburn College). The division between universities and polytechnics was known as the binary divide.

Academic degrees in polytechnics were validated by the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) from 1965 to 1992. After this time, the new universities awarded their own degrees. Sub-degree courses at these institutions were validated by the Business & Technology Education Council (BTEC), and many of them contiue to offer BTEC qualifications.

Many polytechnics were formed in the expansion of higher education in the 1960s, others can trace their history back much further than this. One of the most famous polytechnics was the London Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster), which was originally founded in the 19th century. Ulster Polytechnic remains the only polytechnic to unite with a university; this occurred in 1984. The first U.K. Institution to use the name "Polytechnic" was the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society.

Historically, British polytechnics were seen as ranking below universities in the provision of higher education, due to their lack of degree-awarding powers and the fact that they concentrated on vocational rather than academic courses. Even since 1992 differences still remain between the former polytechnics (and other post-1992 universities) and the older universities in terms of pay, conditions for staff, public perception and research budgets.

Although many of the former polytechnics remain at the bottom of the University League Tables, some former polytechnics have steadily moved up, and can now be found in the top half of the tables of all universities. Examples include Middlesex University (ranked 19th in the Guardian league table) and Oxford Brookes University (ranked 26th of 119 entries and widely considered to be the best new university). [3] Former polytechnics also perform particularly well in vocational subjects. For example, Nottingham Trent University is home to one of the best postgraduate law schools in the UK, and has a strong reputation in primary education.

Many British polytechnics changed their name when they gained university status. Some simply dropped "Polytechnic" and added "University" to their titles, however this was often not possible as there was another University with the name. In these cases by far the most popular choice of title was "Metropolitan", not least because there is a phonic similarity to Polytechnic in the word, but more likely because the institution was situated in a city or other large metropolitan area. Examples are Manchester Metropolitan University and Leeds Metropolitan University. These titles are often shortened to "Met" (Man Met, Leeds Met) or an acronym (MMU, LMU).

The designation "Institute of Technology" itself was not used consistently in higher education; for example in the British university sector it was used only by the postgraduate universities Cranfield Institute of Technology (now Cranfield University) and Wessex Institute of Technology. Two university institutes which also taught undergraduates used the related designation "Institutes of Science and Technology"; UWIST (University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology) and UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology), both of which have merged with other universities. The designation was also used for a time by two Scottish Central Institutions (Dundee and Robert Gordon's Institutes of Technology) plus the Bolton and Bradford Institutes of Technology, all four of which now have university status and have university in their titles. In addition, Loughborough University of Technology had university status since 1966 and was a fully-fledged university and the only one in the UK to have the designation University of Technology.

See also: British universities

[edit] United States

Rogers Hall - this is the main building of Polytechnic University, in Brooklyn, NY.

Many American universities include the phrases "Institute of Technology", "Polytechnic Institute", "Polytechnic University", or similar phrasing in their names; these are generally research intensive universities with a focus on science and technology. The level of academic rigor in these schools may vary from entry-level state universities to elite schools such as the California Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Conversely, schools dubbed "technical colleges" or "technical institutes" generally provide post-secondary training in technical and mechanical fields focusing on training vocational skills primarily at a community college level -- parallel and sometimes equivalent to the first two years at a bachelor's-granting institution. The academic level of these schools varies by course of study; some courses are geared toward immediate employment in a trade, while others are tracked to transfer into a four-year program. Some of these technical institutes are for-profit organizations (such as ITT Technical Institute) compared to most other non-profit educational institutes.

[edit] Venezuela

Institutes of technology in Venezuela were developed in the 1950's as an option for post-Secondary education in technical and scientific courses, after the polytechnic French concepts. At that time, technical education was considered essential for the development of a sound middle class economy.

Nowadays, most of the Institutos de Tecnología are privately run businesses, with varying degrees of quality. They are widely regarded, sometimes incorrectly, as inferior to the university education.

Most of these institutes award diplomas after three or three and a half years of education. Few, if any Institutos de Tecnología have any research facilities.

[edit] Institutions using the terms "institute of technology" or "polytechnic"

[edit] University level

There are many university level higher learning institutions granting the highest academic degrees (including doctorate), that use the terms "institute of technology" or "polytechnic" for historic reasons:

[edit] Other higher education

There are many other types of higher education institutions (post-secondary education) which are not universities and use the terms "institute of technology" or "polytechnic":

[edit] Secondary education

There are also secondary education schools using that word:

[edit] Notes and references


[edit] External links

de:Technische Universität fr:École polytechnique hu:Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem ja:理工学部 pl:Politechnika pt:Escola Politécnica vi:Trường Polytechnique

Institute of technology

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