A Principal Secretary to Government heads Department of Higher Education. Collegiate Education and Technical Education, also comes under this department. Directorate of Collegiate Education is the Government agency to make arrangements for starting new Government colleges, new courses and for payment of salary to the staff of aided colleges. Directorate of Technical Education is in charge of various institutions imparting technical education in the state including Engineering colleges, Polytechnics, College of Fine arts, Food craft institutes, Commercial Institutes, Technical high schools, Vocational Training Centres etc

The Higher Education Department aims to equip post- secondary education with new skills, a broad knowledge base and a wide range of competencies to enter a more complex and interdependent world.

The Government in Higher Education Department aims to convert Higher Education Institutions in the State into Centers of Excellence  and ensure quality education through Academic Excellence. The Department of Higher Education is responsible for the overall development of the basic infrastructure of Higher Education sector, both in terms of policy and planning. The Department looks after expansion of access and qualitative improvement in the Higher Education, through world class Universities, Colleges and other Institutions.

The Vision, Mission and  Objectives of the Department are as under:-
  To attain excellence in academic and administrative streams of the Higher Education sector.
  Provide greater opportunities of access to Higher Education with equity to all the eligible persons and in particular to the vulnerable sections.
  Initiate policies and programmes for strengthening research and innovations.
  Promote the quality of Higher Education by investing in infrastructure and faculty, promoting academic reforms, improving governance and institutional restructuring .
  To develop  the Higher Education sector in the State in all  modes of delivery.
  To expand institutional base of Higher Education (including technical, professional and vocational education) organizations.
  To provide opportunities of Higher Education to socially-deprived communities and remove disparities.
  To enhance plan support for infrastructure and faculty development in the institutions of higher learning and to attract talent towards careers in teaching and research.
  To create conditions for knowledge generation through improved research facilities in universities and colleges.
  To promote collaboration with National and  international institutions/Universities, for the advancement of universal knowledge and intellectual property rights.
  To promote development of Malayalam.
  To undertake institutional restructuring for improving efficiency, relevance and creativity in Higher Education.
  To Support  Vocational Education and Skill Development
  To promote the Use of Advanced Technology in Higher Education.