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Nearly Two-Thirds of Colleges in India Enroll Less than 500 Students: Survey

File photo of Delhi University campus (Image: du.ac.in)

File photo of Delhi University campus (Image: du.ac.in)

According to the survey, only around 4% of the total colleges in the country had more than 3,000 students enrolled with them whereas cumulatively, about 19% of the colleges had more than 1,000 students.

New Delhi: Of the total 38,179 colleges, which were surveyed under the All India Survey on Higher Education 2018-19 (AISHE), almost two-thirds or 64 percent had just 500 students enrolled in them. Even among these, more than half of the colleges have an enrollment of less than 200 students.

The annual survey, which is conducted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, was released last week.

According to the survey, only around four percent of the total colleges in the country had more than 3,000 students enrolled with them whereas cumulatively, about 19 percent of the colleges had more than 1,000 students. Around 35 per cent of the colleges across the country run only ‘one’ programme, about four in every 10 of which run B.Ed. course only, the survey revealed. Four-fifths of these colleges are privately managed, the survey found.

In total, 962 universities, 38,179 colleges and 9,190 stand alone institutions in the country (both private and public) took part in the 2018-19 survey of the total 993 universities, 39,931 colleges and 10,725 stand alone institutions listed on AISHE portal. Students’ enrollment is taken on a rolling basis, meaning all the students enrolled in a discipline (eg. total of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students in an engineering course) as on September 30th of the academic year of the survey. A total of 3.74 crore students were enrolled in higher education across all the institutions as on 2018-19 -- the highest number ever recorded.

A possible inclusion of unrecognised colleges in the survey may be a reason of low enrollment numbers in majority of these colleges.

“Inclusion of name of an Institution in any of the list in the [AISHE] portal and this publication does not confer the status of recognition to the Institution by the Ministry of Human Resource Development,” the survey stated.

Moreover, a significant increase in the number of colleges across the country (as listed and covered under AISHE) has also contributed towards an overall decline in student enrollment per college.

Between 2011-12, when the first AISHE survey was conducted, and 2018-19, total number of colleges registered with AISHE has seen a 14.5 per cent increase with more than five thousand colleges added to it. This has led in an increase of number of colleges available per lakh of population (18-23 years of age) from 25 in 2011-12 to 28 last year.

As a result of which, the average enrollment per college has declined from 703 students per college to 693 students over the past eight years. Among states, the number of colleges per lakh of eligible population ranges from seven in Bihar to 53 in Karnataka, while the average enrollment per college varied between 426 in Karnataka and 1,875 in Jharkhand.

As per the report, nearly 78 per cent of the colleges in India are private (64.3 per cent are private-unaided and 13.5 per cent are private-aided), while the remaining ones are government colleges. Also, about 60 per cent of the colleges are in rural areas and 11 per cent of the total colleges are exclusively for women.