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Review: Higher Education GER for Female in 2019-20 remains higher than Male GER

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The higher education GER for females overtook the male GER for the first time in 2018-19. The trend continued even in 2019-20 with the female GER crossing 27%. Three States/UTs reported a GER of more than 50% while Bihar remains at the bottom with a GER of almost half the national average.

The access to higher education is measured in terms of the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), a statistical measure used in the education sector to indicate the level of education among a certain age group. It is calculated as the ratio of persons enrolled in higher education institutions to the total population of persons in the age group of 18 to 23 years. A high GER indicates a high degree of participation in higher education by the age group. 

In this story, we will look at the trends in Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for the last 5 years across states, gender, and social categories. The AISHE survey covers all institutions of Higher Education in the country, registered with the AISHE code in the AISHE portal.  The data is based on the submission made by these institutions in a pre-defined survey form.

India’s GER has steadily increased led by the substantial increase in ‘Female GER’

The access to higher education has increased over the years, from 21.5% in 2012-13 to 27.1% in 2019-20, according to the All India Survey on Higher Education Survey (AISHE). GER for male population has improved from 22.7% (in 2012-13) to 26.9% (2019-20) and for female population from 20.1% (in 2012-12) to 27.3% (in 2019-20). The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to increase the total GER (including vocational education) to 50% by 2035.

The key highlights from AISHE’s recent 2019-20 report regarding enrolment are:

  • In terms of total enrolment (in absolute numbers), total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 38.5 million with 19.6 million males and 18.9 million females. Females constitute 49% of the total enrolment. Scheduled Caste (SC) students constitute 14.7% and Scheduled Tribe (ST) students 5.6% of the total enrolment. 37% of students belong to Other Backward Classes (OBC). About 5.5% of students belong to Muslim Minority and 2.3% from other Minority Communities. Uttar Pradesh comes at number one with the highest student enrolment followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu (in absolute numbers).
  • The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher education in India is 27.1%, which is calculated for the 18-23 years of age group. GER for the male population is 26.9% and for females, it is 27.3%. For Scheduled Castes, it is 23.4% and for Scheduled Tribes, it is 18% as compared to the national GER of 27.1%. 

GER highest in Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and lowest in Bihar

The highest GER is reported from Sikkim at 75.8%. The GER for the other states falls around and below 50%. Sikkim is followed by Chandigarh (52.1%), Tamil Nadu (51.4%), and Delhi (48%). The lowest GER has been reported for UTs like Daman & Diu (6.1%), Lakshadweep (7.5%), Ladakh (7.9%), and the states of Bihar (14.5%) and Assam (17.3%). In other words, only 3 States/UTs are above the 50% GER target set by the NEP 2020. 

States like Uttarakhand, Kerala, Manipur, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, J&K, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana and Punjab have reported GERs higher than the national average (27.1%).

States like Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Tripura, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and others have reported GERs lower than the national average (27.1%). Among the large states, Bihar has the lowest GER at 14.5%, which is almost half the national average. 

GER among females registers a steeper increase in all social categories

In the last 5 years, the overall GER increased from 24.5% to 27.1%. Male GER registered a nominal increase from 25.4% (2015-16) to 26.9% (2019-20). However, Female GER has recorded a relatively significant increase from 23.5% (2015-16) to 27.3% (2019-20).

Among the Scheduled Category (SC) category, the overall GER increased from 19.9% to 23.4% in the last 5 years. Male GER among SCs registered a nominal increase from 20.8% (2015-16) to 22.8% (2019-20). However, Female GER has recorded a relatively significant increase from 19% (2015-16) to 24.1% (2019-20).

Among the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, the overall GER increased from 14.2% to 18% in the last 5 years. Male GER among STs registered an increase from 15.6% (2015-16) to 18.2% (2019-20) and female GER has also recorded a significant increase from 12.9% (2015-16) to 17.7% (2019-20).

Male & Female GER among STs remains low as compared to other social categories

GER among Social Categories across major states shows the enrolment ratio for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories remains lower than the total enrolment ratio for the state in most cases.

However, there are a few exceptions to this trend among major states. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh, the GER among STs has remained higher than the GER for the state for the last 5 years. This is due to the meager population of STs in the state (less than 1%). At the same time, the GER among SCs in the state has remained lower than the GER for the state. Similarly, in Gujarat, the GER among SCs has remained higher than the GER for the state for the last 5 years and, at the same time, the GER among STs has remained lower than the GER for the state. STs make up around 15% of Gujarat’s population. 

A gender-wise break-up of GER also suggests a similar pattern. Male and Female GER among Social Categories across major states shows the enrolment ratio for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories remains lower than the total enrolment ratio for the state in most cases. Female GER among STs one of the lowest enrolment ratios, in comparison with other groups, across most states.

However, there are a few exceptions to this trend as discussed earlier. For instance, in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Male and Female GER for STs has remained higher than the GER for the state. STs account for only around 1% of the population in both states and hence their GER is higher than the state average. In most other states, STs remain at the bottom of the chart in terms of GER. In other words, GER among SCs & STs is higher than the state average only where their share in the population is very low. 

These patterns indicate that while Female GER among STs has registered a significant increase over the years (as discussed in the above sections), it still falls behind other social and gender categories by a significant margin. 

Featured Image: All India Survey on Higher Education Survey

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