Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Delhi and Guwahati were established as 'Institutions of National Importance' under the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961. Recently, University of Roorkee has been converted to an IIT and integrated with IIT system. The main objective of the IITs is to impart world-class training in engineering and technology; to conduct research in the relevant field; and advancement of learning and dissemination of knowledge.
IITs offer Undergraduate Programmes in various branches of Engineering and Technology; Postgraduate Programmes with specialisation and Ph.D. Programmes in various Engineering and Science disciplines, interdisciplinary areas; and conducting basic applied and sponsored research. At present, IITs offer B.Tech., M.Sc., M.Des., M.Phil., M.Tech. and Ph.D. degrees. IITs are maintaining international standards of teaching and research. The Institutes are continuously evaluating and modifying curricula as per the emerging trends in industry. In the higher-technical education system in the country, the IITs play a critical role. These Institutes are responsible for: Producing high quality technical manpower relevant to the needs of our country; Meeting the increasing demand for quality Manpower in IT and related areas, IITs are enhancing their students intake in the emerging areas; Providing an ambience for promotion of research, development and innovation; Ensuring that strong industry-institute interactions are developed; Meeting the growing needs of Indian Industry for which five-year dual degree programmes have been introduced; Enhancing level of activities pursued in the areas of sponsored research project and consultancy works especially through the Technology Development Missions resulted in successful transfer of technologies, filing of patents and execution of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with large number of industries; Contributing to updating the knowledge of faculty of other Engineering Colleges through Quality Improvement Programme and as host institutions under the Early Faculty Induction Programme (EFIP), IITs act as nucleus to cater to the technical requirements of the respective regions; and Updating continuously the knowledge base and skills of working professionals in industry through Continuing Education Programme and enhancing the interaction between the institute and industry.
In recent years, there is substantial increase in students' intake to meet the growing demand for quality technical manpower, especially in the field of Information Technology. Strength of students in the IITs has increased over 40 percent in the last 6-7 years. Computing and networking facilities have been upgraded. Electronic classrooms and video-conferencing are being increasingly used. These facilities are now state of the art. There is greater use of technology in teaching – learning processes in the IITs. This is resulting in transformation of the pedagogy.
IITs have been effective in enhancing the country's techno-economic strength and technological self-reliance. The IITs have distinguished themselves by the excellence of their academic activities and research programmes. Sponsored research for different funding agencies in the public and private sectors, industrial consultancy and continuing education programmes are also areas in which the IITs have made significant contributions.