Higher Education – RUSA, NIRF, HEFA, etc.

Key takeaways from All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE), 2021-22


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AISHE Survey

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) captures student enrollment across eight levels, including undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD, MPhil, diploma, PG diploma, certificate, and integrated programs.
  • The survey received responses from 10,576 standalone institutions, 42,825 colleges, and 1,162 universities/university-level institutions.


  • AISHE is a report published by the Ministry of Education since 2011.
  • Aim: Portray the status of higher education in the country.
  • Survey covers all institutions in India providing higher education.
  • Data collected on parameters like teachers, student enrollment, programs, exam results, education finance, and infrastructure.
  • Indicators calculated: Institution Density, Gross Enrolment Ratio, Pupil-teacher ratio, Gender Parity Index, Per Student Expenditure.
  • Higher Education defined as education obtained after completing 12 years of schooling or equivalent.

Key Takeaways:

[1] Enrollment Trends: Female Dominance

  • Rising Female Enrollment: The AISHE report reveals a consistent increase in female enrollment in higher education institutions.
  • 2014-15 to 2021-22: Female enrollment grew by 32%, from 1.5 crore in 2014-15 to 2.07 crores in 2021-22. In the last five years, it increased by 18.7% from 1.74 crore in 2017-18.
  • PhD Enrollment Surge: The most significant growth was observed at the PhD level, with 98,636 women enrolled in 2021-22, compared to only 47,717 eight years ago.
  • Proportion of Women: Among the additional 91 lakh students joining higher education in 2021-22 compared to 2014-15, 55% were women. The postgraduate level saw the highest proportion of female students, with 55.4%.

[2] Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) and Gender Parity

  • GER Insights: The estimated GER for the age group 18-23 years in India is 28.4, based on 2011 census data.
  • State-wise GER: States with the highest GER include Chandigarh (64.8%), Puducherry (61.5%), Delhi (49%), and Tamil Nadu (47%).
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI): GPI measures the ratio of female GER to male GER. In 26 states and Union Territories, GER favors women. At the national level, the GPI is 1.01, and for SC and ST categories, it is 1.01 and 0.98, respectively.

[3] Academic Discipline Enrollment

  • UG Enrollment by Discipline: The Bachelor of Arts (BA) program holds the highest enrollment with 1.13 crore students, constituting 34.2% of total undergraduate enrollment. Overall, 3.41 crore students are enrolled in UG programs.
  • UG Discipline Preferences: UG enrollment distribution in 2021-22 is led by Arts (34.2%), followed by Science (14.8%), Commerce (13.3%), and Engineering & Technology (11.8%). BA(Hons) accounts for 6.2%.
  • PG Enrollment: Social science has the highest number of postgraduate students with 10.8 lakh. The Master of Arts (MA) program leads with 20.9 lakh students, constituting 40.7% of total postgraduate enrollment.
  • PhD Discipline: In the PhD category, social sciences rank third after engineering and science. While 52,748 students pursue a PhD in engineering and 45,324 in science, 26,057 opt for PhD in social sciences.

[4] Preference for Government Institutions

  • Government vs. Private: Surprisingly, 73.7% of all students attend government universities, which constitute only 58.6% of all universities.
  • Government Sector Enrollment: State public universities hold the largest share of enrolment, accounting for around 31% of total university enrolment.
  • Private Universities: In terms of numbers, government-owned universities enroll 71.06 lakh students, while privately managed universities enroll 25.32 lakh students. Students show a preference for government educational institutions.

[5] Demographics of Graduates

  • Graduation Statistics: In the 2021-22 academic year, an estimated 1.07 crore students graduated from various programs, with 50.8% being women.
  • Category-wise Graduates: Approximately 35% of graduates belong to Other Backward Classes (OBC), 13% are from Scheduled Caste (SC), and 5.7% are from Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities.
  • Stream-wise Graduation: Arts and social sciences streams exhibit higher graduation rates. At the undergraduate level, BA degrees top the list with 24.16 lakh graduates. MA degrees dominate at the postgraduate level with 7.02 lakh graduates. In PhD programs, science leads with 7,408 graduates, followed by engineering and technology with 6,270 graduates.

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