Issues and trends in India’s higher education system

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Issues and trends in India's higher education system

Source: The post issues and trends in India’s higher education system has been created, based on the article “The social sciences, a shelter for the ‘excluded’ student” published in “The Hindu” on 12th June 2024

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2-governance-Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources

Context:  The article discusses the issues and trends in India’s higher education system, focusing on the mismatch between student aspirations and available courses, leading to exclusion. It highlights the growing preference for empirically oriented social science courses and calls for improvements in teaching and course content to enhance quality. Issues and trends in India’s higher education system

For detailed information on issue with higher education read this article here

What is the current status of higher education?

  1. Mismatch in Demand and Supply: There’s a significant imbalance between student aspirations and available higher education seats, leading to exclusions due to competition, financial constraints, and limited regional offerings.
  2. Enrollment Growth: According to the AISHE report, undergraduate enrollment increased by 4.1% from 2017-18 to 2021-22, with postgraduate enrollment up by 5.9%. Specifically, the Bachelor of Arts (BA) program saw a 15% rise in enrollment, often becoming a default option for many excluded students.

Why are students excluded from higher education?

1.Excessive Competition: Top institutions have strict selection processes. For example, multiple filtering rounds in premier colleges limit opportunities.

  1. Financial Constraints: Private institutions have high fees, often unregulated, making them inaccessible. Public colleges also charge more due to reduced government funding.
  2. Regional Disparities: Some regions lack diverse courses. For instance, BA programs see a 15% increase, showing many students settle for generic options. This leads to a mismatch between student aspirations and available courses, affecting overall educational quality.

What trends are emerging in social sciences?

  1. Increased Demand for Empirical Courses: There’s a growing preference for social science courses that focus on empirical analysis, like economics. This trend is driven by the higher employability of graduates from these courses compared to those from traditional subjects like anthropology or sociology.
  2. Specialization and Policy Skills: Courses that offer specialized policy intervention skills are becoming more popular, reflecting a shift towards problem-solving approaches similar to those in engineering.
  3. Rise of Private Universities: Private institutions are drawing students to less demanded courses by offering high-quality education, making subjects like sociology and political science more attractive to the affluent segment.

What should be done?

  1. Increase Course Offerings: Address the demand-supply mismatch by expanding the number and variety of courses, especially in less represented regions.
  2. Enhance Teaching Quality: Prioritize improving teaching methods and course content.
  3. Reduce Financial Barriers: Make education more affordable to decrease financial exclusion. Private institutions’ high fees create significant access issues.
  4. Promote Balanced Development: Encourage balanced growth in both public and private universities to ensure equal opportunities across different social science disciplines.

Enhance the overall educational experience to meet the needs of a changing society and economy.

Question for practice:

Discuss the current challenges and emerging trends in India’s higher education system.

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