• The Union Education Ministry on Sunday 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 from the 2019-20 figures, with the total enrolments reaching 4.13 crore.
  • The survey revealed that in 2020-21, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, there was a 7% rise in enrolments in distance education programmes.
  • The data showed two lakh more Scheduled Caste students, about three lakh more Scheduled Tribe students and six lakh more Other Backward Classes students getting enrolled for higher education in 2020-21 than in the previous year.
  • “There is a notable increase in OBC student enrolment since 2014-15 of around 36 lakh (32%),” a Ministry statement said.
  • While the increase was noted in absolute numbers, the proportion of SC students dropped to 14.2% in 2020-21 from 14.7% the previous year and the proportion of OBC students to 35.8% from 37%.
  • The proportion of Muslim students dropped to 4.6% from 5.5% in 2019-20 with the proportion of “other minority students” dropping to 2% from 2.3%.
  • The number of students in the Persons with Disabilities category also dropped in 2020-21 to 79,035 from 92,831 the previous year. However, female enrolment had increased to 49% of the total enrolments in 2020-21 compared with 45% the previous year.
  • Student enrolments rose by 7.5% in 2020-21: data
  • The Gross Enrolment Ratio 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, followed by postgraduate level courses, which accounted for 11.4% of the year’s total enrolments.
  • Among all undergraduate enrolments, the most popular remained the Bachelor of Arts programme, which saw 104 lakh enrolments (52.7% women; 47.3% men), followed by Bachelor of Science courses, where too women outnumbered men.
  • This was followed by the Bachelor of Commerce programme, where women accounted for 48.5% enrolments. However in B.Tech. and Bachelor of Engineering courses, women accounted for less than 30% of all enrolments.
  • At the postgraduate level, the most popular courses remained in the social sciences stream, where women accounted for 56% enrolments in 2020-21, followed by science courses, where women accounted for 61.3% of all enrolments. Except for management courses at the PG-level, where enrolment of women stood at 43.1%, all other PG courses saw women outnumbering men.
  • At the Ph.D. level, the most popular course was in the field of engineering and technology, followed by science; in both disciplines, women accounted for less than 50% enrolments (33.3% for engineering and tech; and 48.8% for science).
  • The overall figures for STEM enrolments (at all levels of higher education) showed that women lagged behind men, who accounted for over 56% of enrolments in these fields.


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