All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21


The Ministry of Education, Government of India, released the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2020-21 on January 29, 2023. The first AISHE report was published in the year 2011 and this is the 11th edition in the series.

The survey collects data on student enrolment, the gender parity index (GPI), representation of minority students, pupil teacher ratio (PTR), and enrolment for professional courses as on December 31, 2020. The period of the survey for this edition was from December 1, 2021, to April 30, 2022. The report covers data submitted by 1,099 universities, 41,600 colleges, and 10,308 ‘stand-alone institutions’ (which run diploma-level programmes but are not empowered to offer degrees). Among these, 475 universities were in rural areas and 17 were exclusively for women. This was first edition for which the data from higher education institutions was collected entirely online.

The 310-page report is divided into three main chapters: Introduction (Chapter 1); Analysis (Chapter 2); and Time Series Data Analysis (Chapter 3).


  1. According to the report, for the year 2020-21, the number of colleges in the country increased by 1,453 – from 42,343 in the year 2019-20 to 43,796 colleges in 2020-21. The total universities, on the other hand, increased from 1,043 to 1,113 during the same period.

  2. The highest number of colleges were found in the states of Uttar Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. These states also had a high density of colleges per lakh population.

  3. There were no universities in three union territories, namely, Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu; and Lakshadweep.

  4. A total of 48,035 foreign students from 163 countries enrolled in institutions of higher education in India. The highest number of students were from Nepal (28.25 percent), followed by Afghanistan (8.4 per cent), Bangladesh (5.7 per cent), and the United States of America (5.1 per cent).

  5. The survey shows a significant increase in the number of teachers from 1,365,786 in 2016-17 to 1,551,070 in 2020-21. This growth can be seen in all categories namely, professor, associate professor, assistant professor, tutor and temporary teacher.

  6. Of the total number of teachers, 57.1 per cent were male and 42.9 per cent were female. For every 100 male teachers, there were 75 female teachers.

  7. Of the total 1,395,868 non-teaching staff members in the institutions, 65.9 per cent were male and 34.1 were female. Around 56.5 per cent of the non-teaching staff belonged to the general category and 24.7 per cent come from the Other Backward Classes. Further, 14.4 per cent were members of Scheduled Castes and 4.4 per cent belonged to Scheduled Tribes.

  8. During this period, enrolment of female students was higher than male students in MPhil (62.1 per cent) and post graduate courses (56.45 per cent). Contrarily, female enrolment compared to male enrolment in undergraduate courses like BA, BCom, BCA, BBA, BEd and LLB declined.

  9. Enrolment in PhD programmes increased from 141,037 in the year 2016-17 to 211,852 in 2020-21. Tamil Nadu had the highest number of candidates 34,411 enrolled in PhD programmes, followed by Uttar Pradesh (19,806) and Maharashtra (15,751).

  10. The gross enrolment ratio (GRE) – defined as the ratio of the total enrolment in higher education, regardless of age, to the official population in a given school year, expressed as percentage – saw a rise from 25.2 per cent in 2016-17 to 27.3 in 2020-21. The rise was more significant in the Scheduled Caste category, with an increase from 21.1 to 23.1 per cent. For the Scheduled Tribe category, it surged from 15.4 to 18.9 per cent.

  11. The gender parity index (GPI) in higher education measures the ratio of male to female students in higher education. A GPI which is “less than 1 suggests girls are more disadvantaged than boys in learning opportunities and a GPI of greater than 1 suggests the other way around.” It increased from 0.94 in 2016-17 to 1.05 in 2020-21, the report states.

  12. The pupil teacher ratio (PTR) measures the average number of students per teacher at a specific level of education in a given academic year. The PTR was 27 students per teacher for higher education institutions across India in 2020-21.

  13. The total number of students graduating has increased from 94 lakhs in 2019-20 to 95.4 lakhs in 2020-21. At the undergraduate level, 2,046,189 students graduated with a BA degree. At a postgraduate level, 542,103 students graduated with a MA. Also, 24,146 students graduated with a PhD.

  14. From the responses to the survey, it was found that 4.6 per cent of students belonged to the Muslim minority and two per cent were from other minority communities. The report also notes the presence of more female students than male students from these minority communities. Of all the states and union territories, Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of Muslim students – 299,311.

  15. Around 49,334 male students and 29,701 female students with disabilities were enrolled in higher education in 2020-21. Among the states and union territories in India, the highest number of students with disabilities was noted in Uttar Pradesh – 15,003.

    Focus and Factoids by Dhyanvi Katharani.


Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India, New Delhi


Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education, Government of India, New Delhi


29 Jan, 2023