Latest National Statistical Office (NSO) Survey on households consumption of education.
CARE Ratings views on the same are:
- India has one of the world’s youngest populations in an aging world. Hence it is of utmost importance to ensure that the budding demographic dividend is made a part of responsible and progressive education system, so as to be able to contribute to the nation’s economic development in future.
- Improvement in literacy rates in India though is a definite reason to cheer, however there still considerable room for growth of the Indian education system. The proportion of students that never stepped in the country’s education system has risen in the recent findings of survey (NSS 75th round), which draws CARE Ratings attention to the ineffective/ declining efforts by government to enrol an individual in schooling and to keep him enrolled in the system as she progresses through various grades. There has to be more effort put in especially by state governments to improve this rate.
- While financial constraint is one of the main reasons for students to continue their education, the survey shows that about 51% of education expense is incurred on tuition fee, while private coaching accounts for a significant 12% of the total education expense. This throws light on the unsatisfactory quality of education provided in school classrooms, leading to greater number of students opting for private coaching. Growing expenses on private coaching also acts as an obstruction for students to continue their studies as they progress through various levels of education and enrol in technical/professional courses.
- However, this does open up scope for growth of the private sector tuition industry which has grown in scale over the years (which does not include classes conducted at homes which is unorganized and difficult to quantify).
- Expenses on books, stationery and uniform comprise significant 20% of the total education expense, which can be reduced if government provides financial support by providing such essentials at free/subsidised rates to students. 12% expense on transport shows that there is not enough and easy access to schools. By addressing this issue in rural areas and lowering or eliminating this cost, the enrolment rate can also be increased. In fact, subsidizing transportation for children needs to be taken up by states.
- With a high proportion students enrolling for Engineering, vocational and IT/computer courses, it is of utmost importance that there is sufficient number of jobs created in these fields. IN the absence of such jobs, the unemployment rate would tend to increase as qualified students may not be willing to take up jobs which require lower qualification.
- There is also a greater need to encourage students to enrol for vocational courses which provides jobs as tailors, plumber, carpenter, electrician, etc. As the gig economy grows this will gain in importance.