Student enrolments went up by 7.5% in 2020-21, All India Survey on Higher Education data show

Proportion of SC, OBC, Muslim enrolments down compared to the previous year; number of colleges increased by 1,453; teachers belonging to SC and ST communities continued to be under-represented; 75 women teachers to every 100 male ones across institutes in country

January 29, 2023 10:31 pm | Updated January 30, 2023 01:23 am IST - New Delhi

Female enrolment in higher education programmes had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% the previous year. File 

Female enrolment in higher education programmes had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% the previous year. File  | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Union Ministry of Education on Sunday released data from the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2020-2021, which showed a 7.5% increase in student enrolments across the country compared to 2019-20, with total student enrolments reaching 4.13 crore.

The survey also revealed that in 2020-21, the year when the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a 7% rise in enrolments in distance education programmes.

The data showed that there were 2 lakh more SC students who got enrolled in 2020-21 compared to the previous year. The year also saw about 3 lakh more ST students and 6 lakh more OBC students getting enrolled for higher education.

“There is a notable increase in OBC student enrolment since 2014-15 of around 36 Lakh (32%),” a statement from the Education Ministry said.

While the increase was noted in absolute numbers compared to 2019-20, the proportion of SC students dropped to 14.2% in 2020-21 from 14.7% the previous year and the proportion of OBC students dropped to 35.8% in 2020-21 from 37% the previous year. 

Further, the proportion of Muslim students enrolling for higher education dropped from 5.5% in 2019-20 to 4.6% in 2020-21 with the proportion of ‘other minority students’ dropping from 2.3% to 2% in the same period. The number of students in the Persons with Disabilities category also dropped in 2020-21 to 79,035 from 92,831 the previous year.

However, the female enrolment in higher education programmes had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% the previous year and the Gross Enrolment Ratio for all enrolments (as per 2011 Census) increased by over 2 points to 27.3.

The highest enrolment was seen at the undergraduate level, which accounted for 78.9% of all enrolments, followed by postgraduate level courses, which accounted for 11.4% of the year’s total enrolments.

Most popular courses

Among all undergraduate enrolments, the most popular remained the Bachelor of Arts programme, which saw 104 lakh enrolments (52.7% women; 47.3% men), followed by Bachelor of Science courses, where too women outnumbered men.

This was followed by the Bachelor of Commerce programme, where women accounted for 48.5% enrolments. However in B.Tech and Bachelor of Engineering courses, women accounted for less than 30% of all enrolments.

At the postgraduate level, the most popular courses remained in the Social Sciences stream, where women accounted for 56% enrolments in 2020-21, followed by Science courses, where women accounted for 61.3% of all enrolments. Except for management courses at the PG-level, where enrolment of women stood at 43.1%, all other PG courses saw women outnumbering men.

At the PhD level, the most popular course was in the field of Engineering and Technology, followed by Science; in both disciplines, women accounted for less than 50% enrolments (33.3% for Engineering and Tech; and 48.8% for Science).

The overall figures for STEM enrolments (at all levels of higher education) showed that women lagged behind men, who accounted for over 56% of enrolments in these fields.

70 more universities

The Education Ministry statement on the AISHE 2020-21 report said, “During 2020-21, the number of Universities has increased by 70, and the number of Colleges has increased by 1,453.” The maximum increase came in State public universities and State private universities, which saw an increase of 17 and 38 respectively, followed by a rise of 14 in the number of Institutes of National Importance, and an increase of 3 in the number of Central Universities. 

“Government universities constituting 59.1% of total universities contribute 73.1% of total enrolment… whereas the 40% private universities account for only 26.3% of total enrolment,” the report concluded.

The 21.4% government colleges accounted for 34.5% total enrolments in 2020-21, whereas the rest 65.5% enrolments were seen at private aided colleges and private unaided colleges put together.

The number of students graduating from higher education programmes increased to 95.4 lakh in 2020-21 from 94 lakh the previous year, further adding that the highest graduation was seen in Arts courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels - in keeping with enrolment numbers.

While the survey found that the number of teachers increased across higher education institutes, SC and ST teachers continued to be under-represented. “At All-India level, 56.2% teachers belong to General category; 32.2% to OBC; 9.1% to SC and 2.5% to ST category. About 5.6% teachers come from Muslim minority group and 8.8% are from other minority groups.”

The survey also found that there were 75 women teachers to every 100 male ones across institutes in the country. The teacher-pupil ratio was at 27 for all universities, colleges and standalone institutions and at 24 if only regular mode is considered. It concluded that the best teacher-pupil ratio was found in States like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. 

“A total of 1,113 universities, 43,796 colleges and 11,296 standalone institutions were registered in AISHE 2020-21. Of them, 1,099 universities, 41,600 colleges and 10,308 standalone Institutions have filled and verified their responses,” the report said.

While Uttar Pradesh; Maharashtra; Tamil Nadu; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka and Rajasthan are the top 6 States in terms of number of students enrolled, Uttar Pradesh; Maharashtra; Karnataka; Rajasthan; Tamil Nadu; Madhya Pradesh; Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the top 8 States in terms of number of colleges, the report further said.

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