Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed concern over the state of higher education in the state and revealed that the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) remains at a robust 17 to 18 per cent. In a recent statement, he highlighted the substantial lack of progress despite the state government’s huge investment in the sector in the last year.
While acknowledging a shift in students' perceptions towards pursuing various courses, including technical ones, Sarma indicated that the GER figures do not align with these observations. He urged the Higher Education Department to scrutinize the discrepancy and devise strategies to address the underlying challenges.
The GER of secondary education in Assam has changed over the years, with an increase of 18.7 per cent in 2018. The recently released All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) for the year 2020-2021 happened the need for sustained efforts to increase access and strengthen the state GER for higher education.
Launched by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, AISHE has been an important tool for secondary schools to collect comprehensive data since 2011. The latest survey marked a major shift with online data collection completely introduced on, improvements that the company delivers amenability to digital.
The report revealed a noteworthy surge in overall higher education enrollment, with figures escalating from 3.85 crore in 2019-20 to nearly 4.14 crore in 2020-21. Over the past seven years, there has been a commendable 21 percent increase, equating to approximately 72 lakh additional enrollments since the academic year 2014-15.
With Assam dealing with its stagnant GER, the call for introspection and formal intervention by the Higher Education Department is essential for the development of the state and the nation across the university enrollment. The responsibility is to address the identified challenges to ensure a dynamic and inclusive educational environment for the youth of Assam.