NEW DELHI: Indian families which send all their children to private schools spend over 4 per cent of their total expenditure more on education than a similar household which sends all its children to public schools. This is a 60 per cent increase above the average education expenditure and is financed by a reduction of expenditure on food, institutional medical care, entertainment among others.
These are some of the facts that were presented by two development researchers in a presentation titled "How do Households Finance Private School Education?" in an international conference on public policy and management organised by IIM, Bengaluru in New Delhi recently.
"We set out to analyse the financing patterns of private education by families because it's a common experience that even urban poor and low-income families in rural areas now prefer private schools over government schools," said Nishant Chadha of India Development Foundation, a researcher.
"And the findings so far, I would say, have been startling as families cut their other expenses significantly to ensure things like tuition, uniforms and recurrent fee that private schooling demands."
The researchers used data from 68th round of National Sample Survey Office for the analysis The motivation for the analysis came from a 2015 Assocham survey which had said that nearly one in ten respondents indicated that the cost associated with schooling has actually affected even their choice of school.
Over 70 per cent of parents spend 30-40 per cent of take-home pay on their children education, placing a significant burden on their family budget, the survey had also found. "While the annual fees are on average Rs 65,000 to Rs. 1,25,000 on a single child for regular schools, even the preschools for those aged 3 to 5 cost, parents about Rs 35,000 to Rs 75,000 a term," Assocham survey had said.
Bharti Nandwani of Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, another researcher with the project said that it was important to probe "at what cost families make a choice that is considerably costlier." "Private schooling entails higher out-of-pocket expense so we wanted to understand how families manage to do that and how it affects their other needs and choices," she said. Chadha, however added that the findings are preliminary and more analyses needs to be done to "answer a lot of other questions.