College enrolments rise, but employability concerns remain, shows govt data
Amid concerns about the employability of college graduates, India added some 3.4 million new students to its higher education pool between 2014-15 and 2016-17, data from the human resource development ministry showed on Friday.
While the good news is that the gross enrolment ratio (GER) has improved to 25.2 (meaning around 25 of every 100 eligible students are pursuing higher education), the bad news is that more educated people will need jobs in a country that is not creating enough employment opportunities.
The GER was 24.3 in 2014-15 and 19.4 in 2010-11.
“The addition of more students to the higher education pool is counterproductive. First, because they are not industry-ready due to the poor quality of education. And, second, because it will only aggravate the unemployment problem,” said Tahsin Zahid, co-chairman of the skill development committee at industry lobby group PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“When we are not creating enough jobs, what will happen to these so-called qualified job-seekers?” Zahid added.
In 2016-17, India had more than 40,000 colleges, 11,669 standalone institutes and 864 universities, while in 2010-11, there were 32,974 colleges and 621 universities.
In other words, the country has added an average of 40 universities and over 1,150 colleges per year over the past six years.
India had 35.7 million higher education students in 2016-17, against 32.3 million in 2014-15.
Other than the employment concern, the burgeoning student population and decreasing number of teachers point to a problem of understaffing in higher education.
The data showed that in 2016-17, there were 1.37 million teachers, as against 1.52 million in 2015-16.
Human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar said that around 15% of the teachers who were on the rolls in 2015-16 did not show up in the lates survey.
The minister added that they are scanning the data and will take action against institutes that are fudging staff numbers.
Javadekar went on to state that a preliminary analysis showed that around 80,000 teachers may face action.
A human resource development ministry official said on condition of anonymity that of the missing teachers, more than 130,000 are believed to be ghost teachers.
Mint had reported on 4 January that linking Aadhaar to the database of teachers employed in higher education has uncovered some 130,000 ghost teachers.
The data also shows that gender parity in higher education is improving. In 2016-17, for every 100 male students, there were 94 female students. This is an improvement from 2014-15, when there were 92 female students for every 100 male students.
Javadekar reiterated the human resource development ministry’s plan to increase gender parity in Indian Institutes of Technology, taking the female student population to 20% of the total from the current 9% over the next three years.
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