Indians are among the biggest spenders on school education for their children, but the figure halves when it comes to higher studies, a Unesco report has stated.
An Indian family spends an average 28 per cent of its income in school education. That puts India after Nigeria (48 per cent) and Chile (38 per cent). But for university education, Indians spend only 14 per cent, thus benefiting better-off students, said the Global Education Digest 2007.
“Systems that are overly reliant on private contributions, especially at the primary level of education, raise the risk of excluding students from poorer families,” it said.
The report comes a day after Union HRD minister Arjun Singh called higher education the “sick child” of Indian education and asked academicians to make it more accessible and inclusive.
In India, the fee in private high schools, which cater to a large number of students, was the cause for high spending. University education, on the other had, was highly subsidised by the government, an HRD ministry official said.
The report suggested that household expenditure on school education was less in other countries as the main flow of funds came from public institutions.
But in India, a substantial part of the public education budget was channelled to private institutions. “It is the result of a system by which the government contracts private schools to help meet demand for schooling exceeding the public system,” it said.
The report said the expenditure on school education can be reduced by financing subsidies as scholarships, grants and loans to cover education related costs.