Governments spends a substantial amount of financial resources on the creation as well as management of educational infrastructure in most of the countries in the world. For availing of these facilities, individuals also incur expenditure in the form of tuition fees, examination, and other related expenses. The government expenditure can be identified from the budgetary expenses, however the cost incurred by the individuals to pursue education is difficult to ascertain. The recently released report of the 75th round of National Sample Survey (NSS) gives us the results of social consumption on education in India through its extensive survey covering 1,13,757 households (64,519 in rural and 49,238 in urban areas), and a total of 513,366 persons (305,904 in rural and 207,462 in urban areas). It was administered between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.
The objective of the ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India’ survey was to build indicators to examine the participation of persons aged 3 to 35 years in the education system, those who do not avail of such education including those who are enrolled in courses but do not attend classes, and the expenditure incurred on education by households across India.
Here are the 5 key takeaways from the report:
Average annual household expenditure per student for pre-primary education in India is Rs. 8,997 – Rs. 14,509 in urban areas and Rs. 5,655 in rural areas
The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICDS), operational since 1975, is one of the largest child development program that offers non-formal pre-school education to the children along with nutritional benefits. Even though ICDS has been widely applauded with regard to malnutrition and under nutrition, the performance of ICDS in early childhood education faced heavy criticisms due to the lack of quality. (Ghosh & Dey, 2020). From the data, it is inferred that urban areas prefer private pre-schools over public ones.
In India, 26.1% of the persons who is above 15 years of age are not literate, which constitutes 34.5% females and 18.1% males
The importance of education in improving human resource potential is enormous. According to the report, a worrying percentage of persons never studied in a school. It constitutes one-fourth of the population. Census 2011 estimates that India has an overall literacy rate of 74.04%. The report draws attention to one worrying aspect, the stagnant number of illiterate people even after eight years. The non-literacy percentage for rural areas are 31.5 percent (41.2 percent of females and 22.2 percent of males), and for urban areas, the numbers are 13.9 percent (19.3 percent of females and 8.8 percent of males).
Across the country, 47.2% students (49.3% of female and 45.6% of male students) between 3 and 35 years of age receive free education.
Right to Education Act, 2009 mandated the universalization of elementary education (UEE) countrywide and has been implemented since 2010. The report suggests the percentage of girls receives free education is more than boys in the country. The proportion of students that receive free education in rural and urban areas is 57 and 23.4 percent, respectively.
42.2 per cent of female and 42.7 per cent of male students between 3 and 35 years of age did not attend classes despite being enrolled in educational institutions
The huge proportion of both males and females that raises the eyebrows. Such a situation will adversely affect the development of human resource potential of the country. Chief reasons for this included a lack of interest in education (14.8 percent of female and 18.8 percent of male students); financial constraints (17.7 percent of female and 24.3 percent of male students); engagement in domestic activities (30.2 percent of female and 4 percent of male students); and engagement in economic activities (5.3 percent of female and 36.9 percent of male students).
13.2 per cent of female students did not attend classes due to marriage
Child Marriage is a stark reality in our country and the report confirms it is one of the key reasons for discontinuation of schools.
The social consumption of education in India has a long way to achieve a high literacy level, high retention rate, low dropout levels, and various other factors. It is observed that the facilities in the educational infrastructural space is still underutilized in many aspects. The social consumption of rural India after the elementary level of education is way lower than urban areas. Substantial measures have to be taken at both the national and state level to reduce the gaps in service delivery of educational infrastructure in the country.
Ghosh, S., & Dey, S. (2020). Public or private? Determinants of parents preschool choices in India. International Journal of Child Care and Education, 14.