The number of women students enrolling for higher education in India has shot up, and Kerala stands second in terms of enrolment.
Women enrolment in higher education which was less than 10% of the total enrolment on the eve of Independence has risen to 41.5% in the academic year 2010-11.
Out of 169.75 lakh students enrolled in higher education in 2010-11, almost 70.49 lakh were women as compared to just about 47.08 lakh women enrolled in 2006-07, reveals the University Grants Commission (UGC) report.
Among the states, Goa with 61.2% topped in terms of women enrolment followed by Kerala (56.8%), Meghalaya (51.8%) and Nagaland (50.5%). But there is bad news for the state. Though Kerala is amongst the 17 states which had higher enrolment of women than the national percentage of 41.5%, the state has actually witnessed a decline in enrolment of women in higher education in the last academic year as compared to those who enrolled in 2006-07. "We will have to study the data to understand whether this decline is due to demographic shrinking or because more women are opting for vocational stream instead of going for graduation," said higher education principal secretary K. M. Abraham.
In rest of the states, the percentage of women enrolled was less than the national average, with Bihar recording the lowest at 31.2%. The majority of women in the country are enrolled in non-professional graduate level courses, with 41.21% of the women enrolled in the Arts stream, followed by 19.14% in the faculty of Science and 16.12% in Commerce and Management. The number of women enrolled in faculty of Education was 4.60%, medicine was 3.85% and in engineering technology in 2010-11 was 11.36%. Women enrolment in the faculties of Agriculture and Veterinary Science has been miniscule.
The enrolment position of women students enrolled for Master's level courses has been 12% while a very small proportion, that's 0.8% of the total number of students had been enrolled for research. Similarly, only one per cent of the total number of students had been enrolled in diploma or certificate courses.
At the end of the fourth year of XIth Plan (2007-2012), the number of universities has gone up to 523 (43 central, 130 deemed and 345 state universities and five institutions established under Special State Legislature Acts) and the number of colleges to 33,023, thus registering an increase of 44% in the number of Universities and 56% in the case of colleges in comparison to the figures at the end of Xth Plan.