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Indians Increasingly Prefer Private Education, 71 Million Take Tuitions

Devanik Saha,
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In a recent Mann Ki Baat address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that every government should focus on quality learning and outcomes rather than the school enrolment.



His concerns, expressed on April 24, 2016, are not unfounded.


As many as 62% of children in India attended a government primary school in 2014, compared to 72.6% in 2007-08–indicating a surging preference for private schools–according to an IndiaSpend analysis of data in a recent survey on education released by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO).


At the upper primary level, the percentage of students in government schools reduced from 69.9% in 2007-08 to 66% in 2014.


An urban-rural divide is evident: Only 31% of children attended government primary schools in urban areas, against 72.3% in rural in 2014. Yet, this does not mean learning outcomes have improved, IndiaSpend reported last year.


Source: National Sample Survey Organisation


No more than 26% of children in class V can do division, a drop of more than 10% over four years, according to the 2014 Annual Status of Education Report by Pratham, an education NGO.


Despite spending Rs 586,085 crore ($94 billion) over the last decade on primary education, India has been unable to arrest the decline in learning, IndiaSpend reported.


Source: Annual Status of Education Report, 2014


Government schools shunned, rising demand for government colleges


Till Class XII, students prefer private institutions over government, with 58.7% citing “better environment for learning” as the major factor for studying in private schools at the primary level.


Only 11.6% cited “English as a medium of learning” as a reason for studying in private schools.


However, when it came to graduation, post-graduation and diploma studies, many enrolled in private institutions because they did not get admission to a government institution.


For instance, 43% of respondents pursuing a diploma cited inability to get admission in a government institution as the reason to enroll in a private institution, while the same number was 27.5% for students pursuing graduation degrees and above.


The trends were uniform in rural and urban areas–although the demand for English-medium instruction in urban areas was higher by 7% at the primary level–pointing to growing educational and career aspirations.


Source: National Sample Survey Organisation


26% of students across India sign up for private coaching


As many as 71 million students (26% of all students) enroll for private coaching in India: 273 of every 1,000 males and 243 of every 1,000 females.



Further, 89% of them cited “augmenting basic education” as the reason for additional tuition.



India’s private coaching market was likely to touch $40 billion (Rs 2.6 lakh crore) by the end of 2015, according to a report by Associated Chambers of Commerce in India (ASSOCHAM), a trade watchdog.


(Saha is an independent journalist based in Delhi.)


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  1. Vinay Tandon Reply

    May 16, 2016 at 11:31 am

    This story is likely to get worse, much worse before it starts to get better, C. 2100 CE? The reason (s) is quite straightforward. As long a Government(s) continue to grant teaching jobs to unemployable graduates, post graduates etc. in schools, the demand for private schooling will keep growing. Why does Government not make a LAW (AND ENFORCE IT unlike other Laws) that children of ALL government ‘servants’ like the MLAs, DCs SPs and others will have to attend government schools?

  2. Atmaram Sekar Reply

    May 16, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    The article is well written. However, it is requested that better contextualization is needed when we are talking about education and learning. Can we have the data parsed state-wise?

    The second point I wish to highlight is the increasing tendency of parents to outsource follow-up home learning to tuition centers, classes and individual teachers. Parents working, nuclear families etc are legitimate reasons. Yet, we are finding on ground a set of connected realities; hugely over-pampered children after class 4 or so are unwilling to listen to their parents. When this happens, parents engage a tuition teacher and put pressure on him/her to deliver.

    Secondly, not going for tuition invites social discomfort; and tuition teachers, like insurance agents, play on the fear of the children not doing well in exams, akin to the if you die what will happen story line of the insurance agents.

    Most importantly,tuition classes are where maximum negativity is injected into the students. For, the money earned by the teacher is fully dependent on school teachers performing poorly. Vested interest ensures that rumours, half truths, and plain lies are fed there for entirely understandable self-interest.

    This alarming growth has the potential to destroy quality schooling, which will impact society beyond what we can imagine today.

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