Education for All in India; Enrolment Projections, 1998
Enrolment & Population Projections at School Education in India


In this section, a note on historical importance of target-setting and usefulness of enrolment projection in school education in India has been presented with regard to number of centrally sponsored schemes launched by the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD/Education from time to time which includes District Primary Education Programme (DPEP), Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), The Right to Education Act 2009 and recently launched Samagra Shiksha.

The section also presents outcome of a few research studies undertaken  with regard to enrolment projection at school education in India. However, it has been observed that the target-setting and enrolment projection exercises are no more in focus in any of the ongoing programmes including the Samagra Shiksha.  In a separate article Prof. Arun C Mehta, Former Professor at NIEPA, New Delhi discusses historical use of enrolment projections and target-setting in India.

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Education for All in India: Enrolment Projections by Arun C. Mehta, Vikas for NIEPA, New Delhi, 1998
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Fifty Percent Increase in Higher Education Enrolment by 2035 Possible

Tables 50% Increase in Higher Education Enrolment by 2035 Arun C Mehta

One of the important non-negotiable information that is required in constructing enrollment-based indicators at all levels of education is corresponding age-specific child population in a year which is not readily available even from the official sources i.e. Census of India/Registrar General of India in the absence of which officers engaged in district plan formulation (Samagra/Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan) and data analysis feel handicapped. Till 2001 Census, it was a practice to constitute a committee of experts on population projections which was not constituted after the Census 2011 in the absence of which the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD/Education used earlier projections based up to the Census 2001 and adjusted the same on pro-rata basis in the light of 2011 total population which is not free from limitations and enrolment ratios calculated based on which may be off the track once the actual Census figures are available.

Fortunately, the single-age population from age 0 to 100+ was available from the Census of India 2001 sources which had been used by Prof. Arun C Mehta to project single-age 6, 6 to 10, and 11 to 13 years child population (2001   to 2016) for both boys and girls as well as at district and state level by assuming that a child of age-1 will become two,  the next year and by following the same methodology, child population was projected; thus ignoring mortality which may be considered as a methodological limitation. Even with the limitation, there may a margin of error to the tune of 2 to 5 percent.

In addition to projected population made available at the district and state levels, an EXCEL Template was especially designed to project block-specific population based on the ratio method of population projections. Happy to observe that  states across the country widely used these projections in computing various enrolment-based indicators.

Off-late in July 2020 much awaited projections based on  2011 Census, Report of the  Technical Group on Population Projections set-up by the  National Commission of Population, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India was also made available which presents Total projected Population for the period 2011 to 2036 as well as projected population in different age groups, such as 6 to11, 11 to 14, 6 to 14, 15 to 16, 17 to 18 and 18 to 23 years has been separately been presented for male and female population both for country as a whole and also for all the States & UTs of India. However, still no projections at the district level is yet available in the absence of which methodology as described by Arun C Mehta can still be used in order to project population both at the district and block levels.

Population Projections