1. Free yet expensive

Free yet expensive

Students in govt schools spend more on tuitions than private ones

By: | Published: April 9, 2016 6:18 AM

With cut offs for colleges and technical institutes surging each year and schools unable to fulfil basic education needs, private coaching is prospering. Latest data from the NSSO survey suggests that 7.1 crore, or more than 25% students opted for private coaching in 2014. Given the increase in number of coaching hubs like Kota, it would appear that most enrolments were for competitive examinations, but the survey points out that 90% of students took tuitions to augment basic education. Not only this, private coaching enrolments were higher in urban areas (34%) than rural areas (23%), and financially disadvantaged students were as likely to take private tuitions as those from rich backgrounds.

It is not surprising, therefore, that expenditure on private coaching accounts for almost 15% of total education expenditure. But, the more worrying part is students in government institutions are spending proportionately three to four times more than private school students. The expenditure on private coaching at secondary level in rural areas was highest at 33% of total education expenditure, whereas students from private unaided schools spent just 7.1% of the entire education expense on tuitions.  This clearly reflects on the quality of education in government schools. An ASER study for 2014 shows that reading and basic arithmetic skills for students in private schools were considerably higher than those studying in government schools at the primary level. The NSSO data clearly indicates that government expenditure and the whole idea of free education under the Right to Education Act, will not serve its purpose unless the quality of teaching in government schools improve and the reliance of the students on private tuitions goes down considerably.

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