Higher Education in India – An Introduction
The higher education of India will bask in its glory by the year 2030 when every
fourth global citizen will be a graduate of its making. It shall also be the youngest
nation in the world with 140 million people in the college going age group. The
higher education of India is the powerhouse of the global knowledge hub. Currently
50% of India’s population is below 25 years of age, and by 2020 India will supersede
China as the nation with the highest tertiary - age population. The future of higher
education in India appears to be nearing its pinnacle of glory.
India ranks the third largest country in the world in terms of Higher education
system, after United States and China. In the last two decades the Higher education
system in India has undergone a phenomenal change due its attainment of widespread
reach to low cost high quality university education to almost the entire populace.
Expansion, equity and excellence – are the three pillars of the government’s plans
for education. In the forthcoming five years every aspect of higher education is
being reorganised and remodelled: quality assurance, funding, accountability, leadership
and management, relationship with industry, international collaboration, and in
methods of conduct of teaching and research. A remarkable initiative is the phase
wise delegation of funding and authority from the domain of central to the state
Higher Education in India – Demographics.
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The University Grants Commission is the main governing body at the tertiary level
which enforces standards, co-ordinates between centre and states and advises the
government in matters of higher education of the country. It has also established
twelve autonomous institutions which oversee and regulate accreditation of higher
learning. India has one of the largest higher education systems in the world comprising
of 700+ universities, 35000+ colleges and numerous stand-alone technical/professional
institutions with annual enrolment in excess of 26 million students.
Despite impressive growth, the gross enrolment ratio of India’s higher education
stands at 18% which is far below the global average of 27%. China has gross enrolment
ratio of 26% and Brazil has 36% (2010). The government plans to increase GER in
higher education to 30% by 2030. This will require a transformational change at
a pace and scale never seen before. In the process India would require another 800
universities and over 40,000 colleges in the next eight years to provide the planned
additional 14 million places by the year 2020. The private sector has outpaced the
state sector in tertiary education which currently occupies 64% share of the total
number of institutions and 59% of tertiary enrolments. Higher education universities
are currently growing at the rate of 40% per annum and their market share is worth
$ 6.5 billion. By estimates even if India achieves 30% GER by 2020, 100 million
students will not have places at university. India requires drastically increasing
places at universities and laying more emphasis on distance learning programmes
to ease this gap.
Higher Education in India – Future
Despite the growing reputation for “Frugal Innovation” mainly driven by the private
sector, the eco system for innovation in Indian research institutions is weak. The
number of students taking PhD’s and entering research posts is very low. 4,500,
PhD’s are awarded in science and engineering whereas in China it is 30,000 and 25,000
in the U.S.
Higher Education in India requires a both quantitative and qualitative jumpstart
to be entrenched in the position of the “Global Knowledge Powerhouse”.
Disclaimer: This information has been collected from secondary research we are not
responsible for any errors in the same.
- "Our frugal future: lessons from India's frugal innovation system": K.Bound and
I.Thornton; NESTA (2012)
- Ernst & Young (2010). New realities, new possibilities: the changing face of Indian
- Ernst & Young (2011). 40 million by 2020: preparing for a new paradigm in Indian
- Ernst & Young (2012). Higher education in India: twelfth five year plan (2012-2017)
- British Council (2014).Understanding India-The future of higher education and opportunities
for international co-operation.