What should India do to increase enrollment in higher education?

admin November 5, 2021
Updated 2021/11/05 at 6:26 AM

The gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher or tertiary education climbed to 27.1 percent (38.5 million) in 2019-20, up from 26.3 percent (37.4 million) the previous year, according to the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE). This means that 72.9 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 23 is not enrolled in a higher education institution (HEIs). By 2035, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 targets a goal of 50% GER. To meet this goal, GER must increase at a rate of 3.53 percent each year. Given that the compounded growth rate of GER between 2011-12 and 2019-20 was 3.58 percent, the goal is achievable.

A multipronged, multi-tiered plan is needed to increase higher education enrolment

It is necessary to improve the transition ratio from secondary to higher secondary, and ultimately to HEI. For example, the net enrolment ratio at the upper secondary level in 2018-19 was just 30.8 percent, limiting the potential of a growth in the HEI.

Geography is also important in higher education. In metropolitan regions, for example, college density is still quite high. Policy action is required to expand HEIs to the hinterlands while also expanding enrolment capacity.

Larger HEIs are favoured by policy: Small, high-quality HEIs were previously favoured by the Radhakrishnan University Education Commission (1949) and the Kothari Commission (1964-66). This is in sharp contrast to China’s, the United States’, and Europe’s policies. In 2016, India’s 51,649 higher education institutions (HEIs) had 35.7 million students, whereas China’s 2,596 institutions had 41.8 million. Larger, more enroled HEIs are easier to administer and more resource-friendly.

Increasing Access to Open Education For many years, India’s proportion of distant and open learning has remained stable at approximately 11%. SWAYAM offers massive online open courses (MOOCs), yet only 10.7% of Indian homes have access to a computer, and only 23.8 percent have access to the internet. Improving Teacher Quality and Shortage: To increase the teacher-student ratio from 1:28 to an optimum 1:15, India needs 3.3 million extra instructors in higher education institutions. This necessitates efforts to encourage the brightest brains to pursue teaching as a vocation by guaranteeing a stable and important career path. India may learn from nations like Finland and South Korea, where teaching is a prized profession.

Increasing your employability According to several polls, graduates lack both the technical and communicative abilities necessary for skilled employment. HEIs can assist increase these levels by offering vocational courses in conjunction with local companies. the Scholarships  presently provide insufficient financial assistance. The shift from “mass education” to “universal education” is made possible by providing financial assistance to the most disadvantaged people.


Over the previous few years, India’s GER has gradually grown. The GER of women, SCs, and STs has increased significantly as a result of this expansion. This expansion must continue. As a result, the future rests in empowering subgroups, which will speed up GER. This must work hand in hand with India’s attempts to enhance the NEP 2020-proposed policy of greater social inclusion.

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