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All India Survey on Higher Education 2020-2021

  • 31 Jan 2023
  • 8 min read

For Prelims: All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-2021, Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-teacher ratio, Gender Parity Index, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Persons with Disabilities, National Education Policy (NEP)

For Mains: Major Highlights of the AISHE Data, Current Major Issues Related to India’s Higher Education System.

Why in News?

The Union Ministry of Education released data from the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2020-2021, which showed a 7.5% increase in student enrolments across the country compared to 2019-20.

  • The survey also revealed that in 2020-21, the year when the Covid-19 pandemic began, there was a 7% rise in enrolments in distance education programmes.

What is the AISHE?

  • To portray the status of higher education in the country, the Ministry of Education has endeavored to conduct an annual web-based AISHE since 2010-11.
    • Data is being collected on several parameters such as teachers, student enrolment, programmes, examination results, education finance, infrastructure.
  • Indicators of educational development such as Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-teacher ratio, Gender Parity Index, Per Student Expenditure will also be calculated from the data collected through AISHE.
    • These are useful in making informed policy decisions and research for development of the education sector.

What are the Major Highlights of the AISHE Data?

  • Student Enrolment:
    • Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for all enrolments (as per 2011 Census) increased by over 2 points to 27.3.
      • The highest enrolment was seen at the undergraduate level, which accounted for 78.9% of all enrolments.
    • The female enrolment in higher education programmes had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% in 2019-20.
    • Gender Parity Index (GPI), the ratio of female GER to male GER, has increased from 1 in 2017-18 to 1.05 in 2020-21.
    • The number of students in the Persons with Disabilities category dropped in 2020-21 to 79,035 from 92,831 in 2019-20.
    • The proportion of Muslim students enrolling for higher education dropped to 4.6% in 2020-21 from 5.5% in 2019-20.
    • Uttar Pradesh; Maharashtra; Tamil Nadu; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka and Rajasthan are the top 6 States in terms of number of students enrolled.
  • Universities and College: During 2020-21, the number of universities has increased by 70, and the number of colleges has increased by 1,453.
    • The 21.4% government colleges accounted for 34.5% total enrolments in 2020-21, whereas the rest 65.5% enrolments were seen at private aided colleges and private unaided colleges put together.
    • Uttar Pradesh; Maharashtra; Karnataka; Rajasthan; Tamil Nadu; Madhya Pradesh; Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the top 8 States in terms of number of colleges.
  • Faculty: The female per 100 male faculty has improved to 75 in 2020-21 from 74 in 2019-20 and 63 in 2014-15.

What are the Current Major Issues Related to India’s Higher Education System?

  • Faculty Shortage: AISHE 2020-21 showed that the teacher-pupil ratio was at 27 for all universities, colleges and standalone institutions and at 24 if only regular mode is considered due to which the quality of education remains a concern.
  • Inadequate Infrastructure: Poor infrastructure is another challenge to higher education in India.
    • Due to the budget deficit, corruption and lobbying by the vested interest group, public as well as private sector universities in India lack the necessary infrastructure.
  • Regulatory Issues: Management of Indian higher education faces challenges of lack of accountability, transparency, and professionalism.
    • As a result of the increase in the number of affiliated colleges and students, the burden of administrative functions of universities has significantly increased and the core focus on academics and research is diluted.
  • Problem of Brain Drain: Due to cutthroat competition for getting admission in top institutes like IITs and IIMs, a challenging academic environment is created for a large number of students in India, so they prefer going abroad, which makes our country deprived of good talent.
    • There is definitely a quantitative expansion of education in India but the qualitative front (essential for a student to get a job) is lagging behind.

How can the Indian Higher Education System be Revolutionized?

  • Implementation of National Education Policy (NEP): The implementation of the NEP can help shake the education system from its slumber.
    • Moving away from the current 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system will bring the pre-school age group formally into the education set-up.
  • Education-Employment Corridor: India's educational setup needs to be enhanced by integrating vocational learning with mainstream education and providing right mentorship at school (especially in government schools) to ensure that students are guided in the right direction from the start and are aware of career opportunities.
  • Taking a Note from Past to Future: It is important to look to the future while keeping our long-established roots in mind.
    • The ancient evaluation of education was not restricted to grading thematic knowledge. Students were assessed on the skills they learned and how well they can apply practical knowledge to real-life situations.
      • The modern education system can also devise similar systems of assessment.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q. Which of the following provisions of the Constitution does India have a bearing on Education? (2012)

  1. Directive Principles of State Policy
  2. Rural and Urban Local Bodies
  3. Fifth Schedule
  4. Sixth Schedule
  5. Seventh Schedule

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 3, 4 and 5 only
(c) 1, 2 and 5 only 
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Ans- (d)


Q1. How have digital initiatives in India contributed to the functioning of the education system in the country? Elaborate on your answer. (2020)

Q2. Discuss the main objectives of Population Education and point out the measures to achieve them in India in detail. (2021)

Source: TH

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