Institute of technology or university of technology or polytechnic university or technikon is a designation employed for a wide range of learning institutions awarding different types of degrees and operating often at variable levels of the educational system. It may be an institution of higher education and advanced engineering and scientific research or professional vocational education, specializing in science, engineering, and technology or different sorts of technical subjects. It may also refer to a secondary education school focused in vocational training. The term institute of technology is often abbreviated IT and is not to be confused with information technology. The English term polytechnic appeared in the early 19th century, from the French École Polytechnique, engineering school founded in 1794 in Paris. The French term comes from the Greek πολύ (polú or polý) meaning “many” and τεχνικός (tekhnikós) meaning “arts”. While the terms ‘institute of technology’ and ‘polytechnic’ are synonymous, the preference concerning which one is the preferred term varies from country to country.