Gujarat’s lag in higher education is intact, suggest data in new report sponsored by Centre, top industry body
By Rajiv Shah
A fresh report on the status of higher education in India has suggested that, despite a sharp increase in the number of universities and colleges in the recent past, the Gujarat government continues to perform poorly as compared to many other states in ensuring quality education to college-going children. Titled “Annual Status of Higher Education of States and Union Territories in India, 2014”, and sponsored jointly by the Union ministry of human resources and the top industry body, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the report finds that Gujarat government’s per capita spending on higher education (Rs 2,958) is less than nine major Indian states out of 20.
Worse, the report says that the state government spending on higher education is a meager 0.39 per cent of the gross state domestic product (GSDP), which is worse than 12 other states. This, analysts say, suggests that while the state economy may be doing considerably well, the state government has failed to ensure that the benefits of overall growth reach the children who acquire higher education. In fact, poor spending on education is not something new for higher education. This has been the norm, and under observation of Reserve Bank of India, for school education for quite some time (click HERE to read).
Worse, there is the proverbial gender gap in Gujarat: As against the male GER of 18.1, the female GER is 14.7. The report admits, “The GER of scheduled castes STs (9.1) is lower than the state GER of 16.5. Further, there is disparity within the social groups between male and female GER. The gender parity index for scheduled castes (SCs) is 0.83, and STs (0.92). As can be seen from the data on gender and social representation, the share of student enrollment across all backward groups in Gujarat is lesser than their proportionate share in population.”
|Gender gap in enrollment in higher education|
Despite all this, the report seeks to sound high for Gujarat composite higher educational development index. At 0.63 on a scale of one, it is better than most major states with the exception of just three Kerala (0.64), Karnataka (0.69) and Tamil Nadu (0.69). While calculating the index, the consultants have taken into account mainly quantitative factors like literacy rate, higher secondary pass rate, number of universities and colleges, and the percentage of teachers with previous year in-service training. Why has it not taken into consideration factors like expenditure or GER, appears inexplicable.
At the same time, the report states, “In terms of access, Gujarat has concentration of 25 colleges per lakh population same as the all India average of 25 colleges per lakh population. In terms of average enrollment per college, Gujarat (599) is lesser than all India average of 703. Total enrollment of students in regular mode in higher education institutes in GUJ is around 11.44 lakh.”
It further says, “Out of the total colleges in the state, 90% are affiliated to Universities, and the remaining is constituent/university colleges, PG/off campus or recognized centres by the universities. In terms of management, Gujarat colleges are dominated by the private unaided colleges, forming 40.5% of all colleges in the state, followed closely by 35.3% owned by government and 24.2% that are private aided.”