Education, Stories

Data: AISHE Report Reveals That Female Faculty More Clustered in Lower Ranks, While Men Dominate Top-Posts of Higher Education


The Ministry of Education has been conducting the annual ‘All India Survey on Higher Education’ (AISHE) since 2010-11, gathering data on higher education institutions across India, including information on teachers, students, infrastructure, and examinations. The latest 2021-22 report reveals that the enrolment in higher education has been increasing across all social groups.

The Ministry of Education has been conducting the annual ‘All India Survey on Higher Education’ (AISHE) since 2010-11, gathering data on higher education institutions across India, including information on teachers, students, infrastructure, and examinations. AISHE provides a comprehensive view of higher education in India. The 2021-22 edition, the 12th survey, utilized Web Data Capture Format (DCF) for the second time.

In today’s story, we explore trends in Higher education using data from the latest AISHE report.

Total Enrolment in Higher Education stands at 4.3 Crore in 2021-22, gap between male and female enrolment yet again on rise.

Over the span of ten years, from 2012-13 to 2021-22, total enrolment across all levels and social categories surged from 30.2 million to 43.3 million, marking a robust 43% increase. During 2021-22, Scheduled Castes comprised 15.3% of total enrolment, Scheduled Tribes 6.3%, and Other Backward Castes 37.8%. The percentage share of Muslims rose to 4.9% in 2021-22 survey as compared to 4.6% during the last survey.

The share of Male enrolment dropped from 55.1% to 52.2%, while female enrolment rose from 44.9% to 47.8%, between 2012-13 and 2021-22. However, data for the three surveys indicate that the share of female enrolment declined from 49% to 47.8%, while the share of male enrolment grew from 51% to 52.2% between 2019-20 and 2021-22 surpassing 2 crores for the first time in 2020-21. The gap between male and female enrolment declined from 30.8 Lakhs to a least 7.5 lakhs between 2012-13 and 2019-20. Since then, there has been a widening of the gap in enrolment, increasing from 7.5 lakhs in 2019-20 to 18.8 lakhs in 2021-22.

Enrolments rising across all social groups.

The data on enrolments as per various social groups point to an increase across all major social groups. The share of Scheduled Tribes in the overall enrolments grew from 4.4% to 6.3% between 2012-13 and 2021-22, whereas the share of Scheduled Castes rose from 12.8% to 15.3% during the same period. The share of OBCs grew from 31.2% to 37.8% in the same period. Enrolments among the Muslim community also improved slightly, increasing from 4.6% in 2020-21 to 4.9% in 2021-22, equalling the levels of 2016-17.

Majority of the states and UT’s register decline in average enrolment per college in last decade

Higher educational institutions are broadly classified into three categories- Universities and their constituents, Colleges, and Stand-alone institutions. Out of these three, more than 70% of the enrolment is concentrated in colleges, followed by universities at around 23% and the rest in stand-alone institutions. Enrolment in colleges hence becomes an important aspect in measuring the accessibility of higher education in India.

The data on the average enrolment in colleges over the last decade, from 2012-13 to 2021-22, show that the majority of the states registered a decline. Large states such as Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Punjab, and Rajasthan saw a decline in the average enrolment per college, while States like Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, and Telangana saw an increase. At an all-India level, the average enrolment per college declined marginally from 715 in 2012-13 to 709 in 2021-22.

Regional disparities continue to loom the Higher Education landscape.

In recent years, regional disparities in higher education access and enrolment have grown more pronounced. In 2021-22, the number of colleges per lakh population ranged from 7 in Bihar and 8 in Jharkhand to 66 in states like Karnataka and 52 in Telangana. The proliferation of private entities in higher education is also a probable factor contributing to the widening regional disparities in the distribution of institutions and enrolment across India.

Further, this concentration of institutions has exacerbated regional enrolment gaps, with states having higher college concentrations also experiencing higher Gross Enrolment Ratios (GERs), with states like Bihar having GER of 17.1, while Tamil Nadu has 47, followed by Kerala at 41.3, and Telangana at 40.

Female faculty more clustered in lower ranks, while men dominate the top-posts.

In higher education institutions globally, there is a clear emphasis on promoting inclusion and diversity. Women encounter substantial challenges in higher education workplaces, experiencing disadvantages and underrepresentation, especially in high-demand fields like STEM. In India, female student enrolment in higher education rose from 44.9% to 47.8% between 2012-13 and 2021-22. Similarly, the total number of teachers in higher education has also grown with the share of female teachers increasing from 39% in 2012-13 to 43.4% in 2021-22 of the total teacher strength in higher education in India.

However, the finer details reveal the sociological phenomenon of the glass ceiling. It can be seen that female faculty tend to be clustered in lower ranks, while male faculty continue to dominate the top-level posts. Further, the growth rate of female faculty in lower ranks is also greater as compared to the growth rate in the top-level posts.


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