17 June, 2021

Towards A College Degree Worth It

Only a comprehensive improvement in tertiary education can fuel India’s growth

Towards A College Degree Worth It

The last 15 years have witnessed the largest global expansion of tertiary education in recent history due to a 60 per cent growth in student enrolment. India’s performance is even more dramatic—tertiary education expanded alm­ost a spectacular threefold, from 8.4 million students in 2000-01 to 23.8 million in 2013-14. The number of tertiary education institutions has also increased significantly. As Devesh Kapur and Pratap Mehta indicate, nearly seven colle­ges have opened daily in India over this period. As World Bank studies show, students today prefer professional education. In 2008, only 25 per cent of tertiary education students opted for technical education; today nearly 50 per cent are enrolled in these programmes. And importantly, the overwhelming maj­ority of India’s tertiary level students study in private unaided colleges. Over the past decade, access to tertiary education has become more equitable across all cate­gories—caste or income—though not so across regions and gender. Less positively, the quality of education...

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