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After rising for four years, share of reserved quota students dips in 2017-18 in Maharashtra

The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2017-18 showed that the proportion of students belonging to ST, SC and OBC has dipped in Maharashtra

mumbai Updated: Aug 20, 2018 05:15 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Maharashtra,All India Survey on Higher Education,Scheduled Caste
Students and parents check the first merit list of FYJC at Ruia college, Matunga in Mumbai, India.(HT File Photo)

After growing consistently over the years, the share of socially weaker students in the higher educational institutes of the state is no longer on the rise, a recent survey has revealed.

While some experts blamed the trend on poor access to education, others believed that the proportion of marginalised youth in colleges and universities has come to a standstill, having reached close to their actual share in the state’s population.

The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2017-18, conducted by the central government, showed that the proportion of students belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC), among those enrolled in the higher educational institutes of the state has slightly dropped in the last one year, deviating from its upward trajectory during the last five years. Between 2012-13 and 2016-17, the share of the reserved categories in higher education kept increasing from 37.01% to 46.65%, but it dropped to 46.19% in 2017-18, shows the survey.

In the last three years, the proportion of SCs and STs has more or less remained constant, despite the substantial growth during the previous few years. The survey found that between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the proportion of SC students in educational institutes dipped from 12.25% to 12.18%, while ST students shrunk from 4.55% to 4.48%. On the contrary, between 2012-13 and 2015-16, the proportion of SC and ST students increased by two and one percentages, respectively.

The findings have been released at a time when Marathas, which make up for 31.5% population of the state and form bulk of the general category, are demanding a 16% quota for themselves in educational institutes and government jobs. Currently, institutes in the state have reserved 52% of their seats for various castes.

In the last one year, the overall higher education enrolment in the state increased by 2.9%, with all the caste groups witnessing an increase in enrolment.

According to RB Bhagat, head of the department of migration and urban studies at the Indian Institute of Population Sciences in Deonar, the proportion of marginalised youths in higher education remained constant in the last few years as it has reached close to their actual share in the state’s population. “The enrolment figures have stabilised. There is not much gap between the proportion of reserved category youths in higher education and in overall population,” he said.

The population projections made available by ministry of human resource development (MHRD) indicates that between 2017-18 and 2012-13, the proportion of SCs and STs in the state’s population between 18 and 23 years of age, hovered around 12% and 9%, respectively.

Govardhan Wankhede, dean, School of Education at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, said lack of access to education is mainly responsible for the shrinking space for marginalised students in higher institutes. “Most marginalised students are enrolled in non-professional courses, which are cheaper,” he said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 05:15 IST