Higher Education

Expansion, inclusion and excellence along with equity and quality are the watchwords of the Eleventh Plan. The growth of higher education institutions with requisite faculty and infrastructure support has not kept pace with the increase in enrolments, and even less in relation to the apparent and latent demand. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education in India is about half the world�s average GER (24 per cent), two thirds of that of developing countries (18 per cent) and way behind that of developed countries (58 per cent). India had a higher tertiary education GER in 1999 than that of China (6.0 per cent). However, China�s GER shot up to 22 per cent surpassing India�s by about 10 percentage points in 2007. The growth of enrolment in higher education was decelerating up to 2003-04 and remained more or less constant for the next three years at around 5.2 per cent per annum. It improved to 6.6 per cent in 2007-08 and recorded a much faster increase of 13.1 per cent in the second year of the Eleventh Plan (2008-09).

India being a youthful nation has the opportunity to benefit from the demographic dividend if we can ensure support and access to higher education of the right quality. A recent study based on NSSO data shows that the rate of return to university and higher education is very pronounced in India9. This augurs well for investing in higher and technical education for transforming India as a major knowledge economy.

The university and higher education system, at present, comprises 504 universities of which 243 are State universities, 40 are Central Universities while 130 are Deemed Universities and five institutions have been established under State legislation. There are 53 State private Universities and 33 Institutes of national importance established by Central legislation. In addition, there are 25,951 colleges including 2,565 women�s colleges.

The total strength of teaching faculty in higher education is about 5.89 lakhs. There is a significant difference in the structure of teaching faculty in university departments and in affiliated colleges. While research guiding faculty consisting of professors and readers account for over 52 per cent in the former, this category is only 32 per cent in the latter. On the other hand, while lecturers account for 30 per cent in the former, it was 51 per cent in the affiliated colleges. Affiliated colleges lack adequate research guiding faculty and have poorer student-faculty ratio (25:1) compared to university departments and colleges (19:1).

Written by princy

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