NEW DELHI: India’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has registered a growth of less than 1 per cent in 2016-17 as compared to the previous year indicating that too high a percentage of the eligible population is still outside colleges.
GER is the ratio of persons enrolled in higher education institutes—including undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral programmes-- as against general population in the age bracket 18-13 years and in 2016-17 it stood at 25.2 registering a marginal rise from 2015-16 when it was 24.7 per cent.
The statistics were released by the Union Human Resources development minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday through a detailed report on All India Survey of Higher Education—an annual exercise aimed to map college and higher education scenario in India.
Although India aims to attain a GER of 30 per cent by 2020 it looks like a distant dream and the country is much behind nations like China, which, currently, boasts an enrolment ratio of 43.39 per cent. In contrast, USA’s GER is 85.8 per cent and even Thailand’s GER is way higher at 48. 86 per cent, the government data suggested.
Javadekar, however, stressed that the country had seen remarkable in enrolment figures since 2014, the year the Narendra Modi government came into power, when the GER stood at 23 per cent.
Figures, however, spell out a different picture. The rise in 2015-16, too, from the previous year was just 0.2 per cent while the pre-NDA years had seen rise of over 1 per cent increase in college enrolments with every chapter of the survey since it was introduced in 2011.
Educationists said that while the positive change in the figures have been a solace, the low growth rate is a direc result of the fact that the government spend less than 1 per cent of the total GDP on higher education.
“Given that we started with a low base, any positive change is welcome and should be hailed but we have miles to go before we can claim to catch up with even many of our neighbours,” said Rajeev Ray, President of the Federation of Central University Teachers’ Association.
The newly released survey also highlighted that as has been the case in the past, states in south India have higher college density, which is defined as the number of colleges per lakh eligible population.
Puducherry has, on average, 549 students enrolled in each college. This is followed by Telangana with 483 students in each college and Karnataka with 381. The college density in the top three states is 49 in Puducherry, 59 in Telangana and 53 in Karnataka.
Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the pile with seven, eight and 11 colleges, respectively for every one lakh students in the state.
Bangalore district tops in terms of number of colleges with 1025 colleges followed by Jaipur with 635 colleges. The survey also says that about 79. 4 per cent off the students are enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (B.A) programmes followed by Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Commerce programmes while just 0.4 per cent of the total enrolments are for Ph.D. programmes.
Uttar Pradesh comes at number one with the highest student enrolment followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Also, there are more than 77.8 per cent colleges running in private sector, aided and unaided taken together but it caters to only 67.3 per cent of the total enrolment.