The number of students in higher education enrolment in India has grown by nearly 10% in the last five years, up from 34.2 million students in 2014-15 to 37.3 million in 2018-19.
The findings were published as part of the latest All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
The 2018-19 survey took responses from 944 universities, 36,308 colleges and 8,354 standalone institutions. Since it began in 2011, the survey aims to provide a better understanding of higher education in India.
The survey found that 79.8% of students are enrolled in undergraduate programmes, but only 10.8% are on postgraduate programmes. The majority (just over 80%) of all students in higher education study only 10 programmes out of an available 187 (approx.).
The survey also showed that 60.53% of all colleges are in rural areas and 11.04% are exclusively for women.
Of the 36,308 colleges that were surveyed, 16.3% had an enrolment below 100; only 4% had more than 3,000 students. The survey also showed that distance education accounted for a significant portion of all higher education enrolment at 10.62%; 44.15% of this are female students.
Significant drop in higher education enrolment in India for professional courses
The data indicates a four-year low in the overall enrolment for professional courses, with a significant dip in the number of BTech and MTech programmes. Enrolment in BTech and BE courses fell 11.3% from 4,254,000 in 2014-15 to 3,770,000 in 2018-19.
The decline in master’s degree enrolment for the same period was more than half, from 289,00 to 135,00.
However, higher education enrolment in India on other professional courses such as education, medicine, management and law increased.
Overall, arts courses account for the greatest share of all students at 9,349,000, of which 46.96% are male and 53.03% female. Science has the next greatest share with 4,713,000 students in total, 49% of whom are male. Commerce has the third largest share, with 4,030,000; 51.2% male.
The survey showed that only 2.5% of colleges have PhD programmes, and PhD students accounted for less than 0.5% of total enrolment.
The number of students did increase in the period from 117,000 in 2014-2015 to 169,000 in 2018-19.
Doctoral programmes in the sciences have the most candidates, followed by engineering and technology.
The survey also found that the total number of foreign students enrolled in Indian institutions is 47,427. The state of Karnataka has the highest proportion of foreign students in India, with 10,023 enrolled.
Pic: Susan Yin
Hari is the Managing Editor of Global Education Times. Hari has clocked nearly a decade working as a communications professional with a focus on the education sector. He has also had stints in journalism and advertising in a career which has seen him live, study, and work, in three countries.
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