STUDENT ENROLMENT in B.Tech and M.Tech programmes has seen a dramatic fall, according to the latest All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) released Saturday. This has led to an overall dip in enrolment in professional courses, which has hit a four-year low.
Students pursuing a Master’s degree in technology have decreased by more than half in the last five years alone, from 2,89,311 in 2014-15 to 1,35,500 in 2018-19, according to AISHE 2018-19. B.Tech enrolment fell by 11% in the same period, from 42,54,919 to 37,70,949. However, some professional programmes like MBA, MBBS, B.Ed and LLB continue to attract more students. The number of students pursuing an MBA, for instance, grew from 4,09,432 in 2014-15 to 4,62,853 in 2018-19. Similarly, enrolment in B.Ed. jumped by almost 80%, from 6,57,194 in 2014-15 to 11,75,517 last year.
The government defines professional education as higher education programmes that are meant for students to acquire knowledge, skills, and competencies for a specific profession or a class of occupations. So, B.Tech, MBBS and MBA are professional programmes, to name a few.
Since the academic year 2015-16, the number of students pursuing professional courses at the undergraduate level has decreased by 7,21,506 (roughly 9%). Enrolment in postgraduate professional programmes dropped by almost 32%, from 18,07,646 in 2015-16 to 12,36,404 in 2018-19.
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The drastic dip comes at a time when student enrolment in higher education is at an all-time high. According to the survey, total enrolment in higher education has been estimated to be 3.74 crore, as opposed to 3.66 crore the year before. The waning popularity of professional degrees seems to have renewed interest in academics, which has benefited with a steady increase of almost 16 lakh students in the last four years at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
According to AISHE 2018-19, the present Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 26.3%, up from 25.8% in 2017-18. GER is a statistical measure for determining the number of students enrolled in undergraduate, postgraduate and research-level studies within the country and expressed as a percentage of the population in the 18-23 years age group.
Out of the total 3.74 crore students in higher education in 2018-19, 1.92 crore are men, and 1.82 crore are women. The Gender Parity Index (GPI) has increased over the last five years, from 0.92 in 2014-15 to 1 in 2018-19. GPI — the female:male ratio in higher education — measures progress towards gender equity.
“The highest number of students are enrolled in Arts courses. The total number of students enrolled in Arts courses are 93.49 lakh, of which 46.96% are male and 53.03% are female. Science is the second major stream with 47.13 lakh students, of which 49% are male and 51% are female. Commerce is the third major stream with 40.3 lakh students enrolled. The share of male students enrolled in Commerce is 51.2%, whereas female enrolment is 48.8%,” the survey states.
The survey also found that there are 993 universities, 39,931 colleges and 10,725 standalone institutions in the country. There were 903 universities the previous year, and 864 in 2017-18.
AISHE 2018-19 findings are based on the responses from 962 universities, 38,179 colleges and 9,190 standalone institutions.