India requires its creative and innovative youth and their assistance to execute what is possibly the most audacious endeavor in higher education underway globally. With a population of 1.2 billion, 50% of India’s population is under the age of 25. If a nation aspires to be a global economic force in the 21st century, it must strive to develop a skilled and resilient workforce.
Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder states, “India needs to have more higher education institutions and upgrade its educational system to accommodate the growing youth population. India would need to develop at least 1000 universities and 50,000 colleges to become a global economic powerhouse over the next decade. The educational establishments will need to navigate the digital road that Digital India plans to construct, maintaining their focus on on-campus programmes alongside distance and online education.”
All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE), 2019-20 reported that the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) or the proportion of students in the appropriate age cohort admitted in higher education in 2019-20 was 27.1%, up from 26.3% in 2018-19. Their statistics showed that India has 1,043 universities and 42,343 colleges in 2019-20.
The UK-India Business Council published a report stating that there are currently 736 institutions in the nation servicing 28.6 million learners. The proposed National Education Policy (NEP) recommends increasing the existing GER to 35% by 2025. According to a study issued during the 10th edition of the Indian Management Conclave (IMC), the existing universities must expand to more than 1200 to handle this increase in enrollment.
A recent report by AISHE (2019–20) claimed that India has one of the largest higher education sectors in the world. However, it was reported that India’s GER of 27.1% fell short of the Ministry of Education’s aim of 32 percent by 2022. Additionally, it lags well behind regions of North America and Europe with at least 80% and China with 51% of youngsters participating in higher education.
“The state of higher education in India is a combination of advancement and difficulties. India would require at least another 1,500 colleges to accommodate the astonishing 140 million college-going students by 2030, when enrollment is expected to roughly treble. One of the primary objectives of the NEP is to improve the number of young people enrolled in higher education. Higher education in India remained largely unfulfilled due to the prime importance being only given to elementary and secondary education, but that is changing now,” shares Pranav Gupta.
According to data from the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) — 1, 33,135 Indian students have left the country to pursue higher education this year, compared to 4, 44,553 in 2021 and 2, 59,655 in 2020. Students have been driven to leave the nation in search of better possibilities due to several shortcomings like lack of infrastructure to support the growing student population, competitive pressures, hefty fees at private universities, absence of practical skills in the curriculum, and subpar medical education.
“The educational institutions here do not provide many distinct courses. In search of better opportunities, many students leave India for countries with better infrastructure and more alternatives. There is a shortage of skill-sets being taught in the courses here, hence students’ employability suffers. The bulk of educational institutions do not align their curricula with market demands. A growing gap that might impede students from underprivileged sections is caused by the nation’s slow pace in expansion of public funded institutions relative to private institutions,” highlights Pranav Gupta, Ashoka University’s Founder.
One of the main reforms of NEP focuses on increasing the proportion of youth engaged in higher education from the present 26.3 percent to 50% by 2035, whereas Education Quality, Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP) aims to raise the GER to 52% by 2024. The government would spend 20% more on public education over the course of ten years, up from 10% of overall expenditure.
The AISHE 2019–20 study states that 78.6 percent of colleges in India are private, comprising nearly approximately one-third of all college enrolment. The proposed NEP, which seeks to transform India into a powerhouse by providing its students with the requisite skills and knowledge, is in the works to address the shifting dynamics of the majority’s needs in terms of creativity, quality education and research.
“The NEP seeks to overcome the difficulties brought on by the structure of India’s higher education system. I believe we need a combination of both small and large institutions to successfully respond to the various learning aspirations and logistical requirements of rural and urban people.
As there is insufficient financing for both centrally and state-funded public institutions, one of the main goals of NEP is to raise the funding needed to promote public education. Quality and inclusivity should be prioritized. To foster quality and competency, it is important to keep in mind culture, gender, social, race and geographic diversity while working on a plan to achieve success on a holistic level,” concludes, Pranav Gupta Ashoka University Founder.
Source – The Free Press Journal