The Indian higher education system witnessed increased student enrolments in 2020 – 21. The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2020-2021, released in January 2023, showed a 7.5% increase in student enrolments across the country compared to 2019-20, with total student enrolments reaching 4.13 crore. Notably, female enrolment in higher education programs had increased to 49% of total enrolments in 2020-21 compared to 45% the previous year, and the Gross Enrolment Ratio for all enrolments (as per the 2011 Census) increased by over 2 points to 27.3. The Bachelor of Arts program is the most popular, with 104 lakh enrolments, followed by Bachelor of Science courses.
During the report’s release, the Education Ministry mentioned the increase in the number of universities and colleges in the last academic year. There were 70 new universities and 1,453 colleges to cater to the increasing demand. The pandemic has also played a significant role, as we saw an increase of 7% in distance education enrolment. It was also interesting to see University Grants Commission (UGC) bringing a necessary draft regulation on the setting up and operating campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions (FHEIs) in India. If we could implement it properly, no doubt, the entry of global universities will revolutionize and internationalize Indian higher education like never before.
With so much on the cards, 2023 will be an exciting year for followers of the high education system. Taking the discussion further, we have come up with a special issue featuring insights and opinions of academics and industry leaders. We hope our efforts will help all the stakeholders of the higher education system to make informed decisions.