Despite a big increase in college attendance, especially among women, fewer than one out of every 10 Indians is a graduate, new Census data show.
Over the weekend, the office of the Census Commissioner and Registrar-General of India released new numbers on the level of education achieved by Indians as of 2011.
They show that with 6.8 crore graduates and above, India still has more than six times as many illiterates.
While rural India accounts for only a third of all graduates, the rate of increase in graduates was faster in rural than in urban India over the last decade, and fastest of all among rural women. From 26 lakh graduates 10 years ago, nearly 67 lakh rural women are now graduates. Rural Indians are more likely to have non-technical graduate degrees than urban Indians, while urban India accounts for 80 per cent of all Indian technology and medicine graduates.
Among those with a graduate degree or above, the majority (over 60 per cent) are those who have a non-technical graduate degree.
Technical qualifications double
New Census data on the educational status of Indians show that the biggest increase is in the number of people pursuing engineering and technology diplomas or technical degrees equivalent to a graduate or postgraduate degree.
The proportion of Indians with engineering and technology qualifications has nearly doubled over the last decade, while the proportion of women technology graduate equivalents has more than tripled.
In all, there were over 73 lakh Indians with a tech qualification in 2011. India also has over 30 lakh people with a teaching degree and over 15 lakh people with a medical degree.
Chandigarh and Delhi have the highest proportion of graduates — over one in every five persons — followed by Maharashtra among the big States, while Bihar and Assam are worst off among the big States, with fewer than one in every 20 persons a graduate. Across the country — with the notable exceptions of Chandigarh and Kerala — the proportion of male graduates is higher than that of women.
The proportion of graduates among the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes is far lower than the national average; just over four per cent of the SCs are graduates or above, while for the Scheduled Tribes, it is below three per cent, and lower still for women.