Highlights

* Marginal increase in women enrolments.

* Bihar sees highest increase in women enrolments.

* Kerala also sees high dropout rates.

Women constitute 48% of Indian population as per 2011 census but make up only 6 million of the 14 million students (42%) enrolled in higher education.

IndiaSpend’s Sourjya Bhowmick looks at 5-year data released by the Ministry of Higher Education in its latest Annual Report 2011-12 and finds that the percentage of women enrolment has risen only marginally (1%) to 41.5% in 2010-11 from 40.55% in 2006-07.

And yet, 7 states - Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, J&K, Kerala, Punjab and Uttarakhand – have seen a drop in women enrolment in higher education.

Gujarat leads the list here, in proportionate terms. Women enrolments are up in absolute terms over the last five years from 312,081 to 358,353 but down as a percentage to overall enrolment.

Interestingly, Bihar has the best percentage increase in women enrolment in higher education.

The Central Government has initiated several programmes like the Indira Gandhi scholarship for single girls (Rs 200 per month for two years and Rs 9 crore disbursed in 2011-12) to guarantee education for women.

Table 1 gives an idea of women enrolment in higher education in India and the ranking of the states:

Table 1: Bihar – A Surprise Gainer

2006-20072010-2011
StatesWomen enrolment% of womenWomen enrolment%of women% increase
Bihar150,11424.5215,748316.5
Himachal Pradesh48,2404466,11449.55.5
Orissa146,71036209,454415
Rajasthan146,78334298,750384
Haryana121,33341201,844454
Jharkhand*71,0463191,82533.52.5
Maharashtra659,23141.5858,313442.5

*Jharkhand has a better % increase than Maharashtra due to rounding off.

(Source: Ministry of Human Resources & Development)

Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, Haryana and Jharkhand are considered backward states when it comes to social indicators. However, these are the states that have considerably improved their women enrolment.

Now let us take a look at the states which have seen a decline in enrolments:

Table 2: Gujarat Leads Reduction In Enrolment

2006-2007

2010-2011

StatesWomen enrolment% of womenWomen enrolment% of women% decline
Gujarat312,08144.5358,353404.5
Kerala211,91461229,49456.84.2
Delhi107,31049129,62846.52.5
Punjab160,63352234,176502.0
Andhra Pradesh387,12440.3718,89438.91.4
Uttarakhand62,10642.5121,56341.31.2

(Source: Ministry of Human Resources & Development)

Kerala has more than 60% women enrolment, which is highest among all the states. Gujarat and Kerala rank number 1 & 2 with a decline of more than 4% enrolment in a period of 4-5 years. Delhi, which is the national capital, comes 3rd.

So, what can be the reasons for the decline in enrolments?

If we look at the UGC report on higher education we see that there exists tremendous academic and infrastructural gap in higher education as evident from the table below:

Table 3: Reasons For Reduction In Enrolment?

Indicators Average of all collegesBenchmark ( A grade colleges)Quality Gap
Total Number of Teachers477831
No.of teaching department per university29345
Number of sanctioned faculty position287432145
Number of faculty position fulfilled220329109
Total Number of Permanent Teachers395415
Total Number of Other teachers92516
Percentage of teachers without Phil/PhD57057
Overall teacher student ratio2720-7
Student Teacher ratio by permanent teachers3330-3
Number of books per college11,96615,2153,249
Number of journals13229
Total Number of computers6115
Students per computer229145-84

(-) is the reduction required; As on 2005....

(Source: University Grants Commission)

Unfortunately, state-wise data is not available on these parameters. From Table 3, we can see that there are major gaps in many factors, especially, teachers without MPhil/PhD. And student-teacher ratio is more than it should be. So, all these factors may well be reasons for the reduction in women enrolments.

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