Scholarly Strides : A decade of development of higher education in India

Prof Himanshu Rai*

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
- Nelson Mandela


In the tapestry of India's progress, the past decade has been a vibrant thread, weaving a story of transformation in higher education. This era mirrors a metamorphosis, where educational institutions are not just temples of learning but crucibles of innovation, shaping minds and society alike.

Amidst the global dance of change, India's higher education sector has evolved, blossoming like a lotus in the sun, signifying not just growth in numbers but an awakening of potential, knitting the future with threads of knowledge, skill, and vision.

As India gradually advances towards becoming the largest producer of human resources for the world, we reflect upon the strides made by India in the Higher Education scenario over the course of the last decade, as we anticipate the lines along which future developments may shape up.

Dawn of a decade of Promise - The formative years (2013-14)

The Indian higher education landscape in 2013-14 stood at a crucial juncture as it approached towards major transformation. While progress was evident, significant challenges re- mained in expanding access, ensuring quality, and fostering inclusivity.

Access and enrollment were limited, with the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) at approximately 23% for the 18-23 age group, revealing stark regional disparities and socio-economic barriers. The institutional landscape, comprising 723 universities and 36,634 colleges, grappled with infrastructural constraints, especially in rural areas. Funding was another critical issue, with higher education receiving limited allocation from the total educational expenditure of 3.84% of GDP.

While digital initiatives like MOOCs emerged (NPTEL being a major milestone), their reach was limited by uneven internet connectivity and infrastructural challenges. Online education, though showing promise, remained in its early stages, with the potential of full integration into mainstream learning experiences.

Despite these challenges, 2013-14 also marked a period of introspection and reform. It served as a critical springboard for a future where Indian higher education would strive to bridge the access gap, enhance quality, and embrace transformative technologies.

Building Momentum: Key Reforms and Initiatives (2014-23)

The years since 2014 witnessed a concerted effort to propel Indian higher education onto a transformative trajectory. A wave of reforms and initiatives aimed at expanding access, enhancing quality, and embracing technological advancements reshaped the landscape.

The establishment of new universities and colleges, particularly in underserved regions, led to a significant increase in the institutional network. This, coupled with targeted scholarship programs like SHREYAS scheme, Pradhan Mantri's Ucchatar Shiksha Yojna, efforts to make student loans affordable through subsidies (strengthening the Central Sector Interest Subsidy Scheme 2009) and allocating credit guarantee funds (CCF Scheme 2015) etc., broadened access for marginalized communities and ignited aspirations across the nation.

As per AISHE 2021-22, enrollment in higher education increased to 4.33 Crores in 2021-22 from 3.42 Crores in 2014-15. The GER increased from 23.7 in 2014-15 to 28.4 in 2021-22, with Female GER rising from 22.4 in 2014-15 to 28.5 in 2021-22. This expansion translated into millions more young adults entering higher education, with notable improvements in representation from previously underrepresented groups.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 emerged as a transformative road- map, emphasizing multidis-ciplinary learning, skill development, and industry partnerships. This paradigm shift aimed to equip graduates with relevant skills and foster employability in a rapidly evolving job market. Not only in terms of metrics, but the NEP, with its effort to radically redefine the education scenario in India, has ignited inspiration and uplifted spirits within the stakeholders in the sector.

Universities embraced curriculum revisions, introducing flexible credit systems, choice-based cour-ses, and industry-aligned specializations. Collaborative research initiatives with leading institutions, both domestic and international, flourished, propelling India's research output onto the global stage.

Teacher Training endea-vors like Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya National Mission on Teachers and Teaching, Quality Improvement Program, National Mission on Men-toring, ATAL FDPs, etc, have been significant contributors towards faculty development.

The rise of digital education platforms like SWA- YAM (which was expanded and enriched in terms of the courses in 2016) and MOOCs revolutionized access to quality education. Online degree programs further expanded options. Setting up of the National Digital University could be transformational. Initiatives like "Digital India" and "BharatNet" focused on improving internet connec- tivity across the country, paving the way for wider adoption of digital learning tools.

India's ascent in higher education is also evidenced by its impressive research output and innovation. As reported by the US National Science Foundation's 2022 report, India ranked third globally in scientific publications in 2020, a leap from seventh in 2010. The research output grew by 54% between 2017 and 2022, outpacing the global average. This period saw 1.3 million academic papers and 8.9 million citations. In innovation, patent filings surged by 30% from 2016-17 to 2020-21.


Over the past decade, India's higher education sector has not just kept pace with global trends but often led the way. Through substantial policy reforms and the integration of advanced technological tools, it has been reimagined to meet the aspirations of a young, dynamic India.

While the progress is evident in the data, challenges such as equitable access, quality improvement, and fostering diverse research areas remain. The continued commitment to investment, policy refinement, and innovation is essential for sustaining and accelerating this remarkable journey of educational transformation.

* Prof Himanshu Rai (Director, IIM Indore) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 28 March 2024

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #30: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Before You Vote : My Rumbling Thoughts
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakching
  • Meiraba wins All India Sr tournament
  • Finding light in dark through my daughter
  • Navigating life's unreasonable expectations
  • Test of people's character
  • BJP's election manifesto
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Black rice & Glycemic Index
  • What Nadda should speak at Dimapur rally
  • Open Letter to CM Office Manipur
  • Meghalaya unveils Strawberry festival
  • Benefits of maths newspapers for students
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #1 : Gallery
  • Are you a good person ?
  • Physics Academy of NE : Executive Body
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Moirang
  • Cherrapunji Eastern Craft Gin launched
  • Cong on cautious path
  • Botox for Hair
  • Posers voters should raise now
  • The lull before the storm
  • 80th Anniv- Battle of Kanglatongbi @UK
  • Vir Chakra Ngangom Joydutta's bust unveiled
  • Hun - Thadou Cultural Festival : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Singjamei
  • Election Eclipses: Ballad of Battle & Loss
  • Our voices are equal at the ballot box
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Urgent Call for Solidarity in Manipur
  • Meitei Nongsha #2 :: An Artwork
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Waikhong
  • About NPF-BJP-NPP alliance & why ?
  • World Veterinary Day, 2024
  • The heavy stake behind the LS polls
  • The politics of lying & deception
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Hun-Thadou Cultural Fest @ Delhi: Report
  • Appeal to Parties & Candidates
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wangoo
  • Establishment of community seed bank
  • Awareness Programme on new Criminal Laws
  • Make a right choice at the Lok Sabha election
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #1
  • RIST talk-58 : Support systems of elderly
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Vote, do not boycott !
  • Lok Sabha election: A new dawn in politics ?
  • IIT-Guwahati Half Marathon report
  • Taking ST demand to the election ring
  • Lesson to be learnt from across border
  • Mirabai: Poised for Paris Olympics
  • Legal position for protection of environment
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Keisamthong
  • Heterocyclic compound & biochemical science
  • Inner, torn between two lovers
  • Certification Music Therapy Workshop
  • NOTA as a choice
  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #29: Download
  • World Health Day 2024
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangantabi
  • The Power of Poppy - 26 :: Poem
  • Fulbright Fellowship Outreach at Arunachal
  • Id-ul Fitr da namaz nattana..
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #13 :: Book
  • Lok Sabha election is coming, be prepared
  • 6th Hun-Thadou Cultural Festival
  • Let There Be Free & Fair Election
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamlong
  • Science magazines are important for student
  • Interesting choice of candidates
  • The power of We, the voters
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur #1
  • The Case for Amendment of Article 371-C
  • Meitei Nongsha #1 :: Artwork
  • Link between forest & conflict in Manipur
  • Final Call for Application MFA - Phase-2
  • ST for Meiteis call before elections
  • Passing the buck
  • Beating of the Retreat #1 : Gallery
  • Life of our Lives in Ethnic Strife Era! :: Poem
  • IIT-Guwahati annual Half Marathon
  • Follow up: European Parliament on Manipur
  • Yoga & Kegel exercise: Pelvic floor workout
  • Opting for the NOTA button
  • Yearning of the displaced people
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • 5th NE Women's Peace Congregation
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2024
  • Election fever grips Manipur despite unrest
  • Looking for a decent election hustings
  • Clock ticking towards voting day
  • An exemplary directive
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Memo to Election Commission of India
  • Easter & Holi echo in Nilgiris
  • Holiday Camp for children at JNMDA, Imphal
  • Zero waste is our moral responsibility
  • Elections & loyalty vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • Show of strength without unity
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2 : Gallery
  • Panthoi Chanu : 1st to play in Australia
  • Intensive labs in film preservation
  • Building bridges with books
  • Need of the hour: Political maturity
  • Accepting defeat before the election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #28: Download
  • April Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Natural packaging from bamboo : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 25 :: Poem
  • Everyone has their own Bharat Ratna
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #12 :: Book
  • Demand- Manipuri as classical language
  • The Drummer from Odisha
  • Beauty benefits of lemon
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur's original Ponies : Gallery
  • Yaoshang & Dance of Democracy loom
  • Symposium on Jagadguru Shankaracharya
  • Choosing ITI as a campus after X
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Nabadwip Dham : Gallery
  • How oral health affects your pregnancy
  • Two faces of Holi
  • Prawaas 4.0, Multimodal Transport Show
  • A decade of development of higher education
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #1 : Gallery
  • Our Eternal Kangleipak :: Poem
  • Micro-livestock for livelihoods: For NE States
  • The fun of Holi used to be monotonous
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • About the "Meitei" community from Manipur
  • Unveiling the medicinal benefits of honey
  • The incalculable value of wildlife
  • Promises of true love
  • Trends, Alliances, & Challenges in Elections
  • Meitei Goddess Ngaleima : An Artwork
  • Water is the most precious gift of God
  • Bharat needs a strong 'India'
  • Transformation of railway stations
  • Not quite the final countdown
  • Missing of 'The Saffron' from electoral colour
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #27: Download
  • 3rd North East Games: Manipur champion
  • The Power of Poppy - 24 :: Poem
  • EBTC & JCRE signed MoU
  • Early Detection Program at Toubul
  • How Holi affects our mood & mental health
  • Lamta Thangja @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur cinema legacy shines at ARCUREA
  • The pulse of politics amidst conflict
  • Forest is most important vital organ of Earth
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Politics of naming candidates
  • Disappearing of spring from season cycle
  • Meira Paibis of Manipur
  • Demand for ST status by Meiteis
  • Project Personal Opening @Assam University
  • World Poetry Day at Manipur University
  • Green skills for sustainable world
  • Supportive interventions during exam time
  • Interesting run up to LS polls
  • Onus definitely on PM to restore peace
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #11 :: Book
  • Water, water everywhere ...
  • 21st March - A special day for Forest
  • RI imprisonment to Rapists at Silchar
  • Arrests threaten fragile ceasefire
  • The Valor Within :: Poem
  • Monitoring the rehab centres
  • True colour of politicians
  • North East Film Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Linthoingambi- 'Jury Honourable Mention'
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #3
  • Formation of Wesean Student Federation
  • 20th March- International Day of Happiness
  • A call to first time voter youths
  • Playing the card close to its chest
  • Targeting FOCS and ITLF
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • Alarming Pictures of Nongpok Sekmai River
  • Health camp at Khangabok Relief Camp
  • Absence of refugee laws fuels ethnic tension
  • Electoral bonds and Mr Bond
  • ATSUM spilling the beans now
  • Main stumbling block to peaceful election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #26: Download
  • Engudam Kavita: Gold @Bodybuilding Ch'ship
  • Sangai :: An Artwork
  • Deepika M urges to observe 2 Mins Silence
  • Attention Manifesto letters- boxes of promises
  • Gearing up for Lok Sabha polls
  • Debate over long poll process
  • Saroi Khangba @ Kangla : Gallery
  • Stress in adolescents due to ethnic clash
  • Will Manipur ever be the same again
  • Innovation : A review
  • Love and Harmony :: Poem
  • Special scholarship scheme for girls
  • Imphal Book Fair 2023 #3 : Gallery
  • Relief material at Serou & Wangoo
  • The power of the human-animal bond
  • Agribusiness & food processing in North East
  • India Defense Policy: Challenge & Imperative
  • Sit across the table and talk
  • Controversial arrest & chaotic confusion
  • Protest for scrapping SoO #2 :Gallery
  • Kangpokpi, a safe haven for immigrants
  • Maharaj Narasingh Statue @Kangla :Gallery
  • North East Film Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri : Gallery
  • N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #1: Gallery
  • Transgender Malem protest [Mar 6] : Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Monica Konjengbam- Mega Miss North East
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #3 : Gallery
  • Martin Irengbam - Mister North East 2024
  • Naorem Roshibina- Wushu Medallist : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs #4 : Gallery
  • Abnormal population growth of Kuki from 1881
  • Resilience in adversity | Kumbi : Gallery
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #2: Gallery
  • Oinam Chaoba Devi: Sepak Takraw : Gallery
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD