Single-kid norm to counter fee burden

DISK parents

Single-kid norm to counter fee burden

With the increasing cost of children education, specially in private schools in India having risen by 180-200 per cent over the last five years, working mothers now prefer to work full time or part time, as education expenses of children have grown disproportionately against their annual incomes.

The number of working mothers has also increased over the last 4-5 years. The majority of parents would have spent over Rs 20-25 lakh by the time their teens graduate from high school. Further, parents invest around 60 per cent of their incomes in children’s education.

According to the study, school expenses including tution fees on a single child have gone up from Rs 60,000 in 2005 to Rs 1,20,000 a year in 2011; 78 per cent of parents said in the average family with a single income-earner, it is impossible to pay for the education of even a single child. So, two good incomes are better than one, is the reasoning.

Nearly 500 working mothers and 500 non-working mothers were interviewed in cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Dehradun, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh between May-July 2011, for the purpose of the study.

The education expenses include uniforms, books, stationery, transport, sports activities, school trips, contributions to schools funds, school aids, tuitions, extra co-curricular expenses for learning would be many times higher than school fees. So, 85 per cent of parents spend more than half of their take-home pay on children’s education, extra coaching and extra co-curricular activities, placing significant burden on their family budget.

An estimated 60 million children or more are educated in private schools, with fees usually rising well above inflation. It is corroding family budgets and potentially having a direct impact on children’s schooling, says Assocham General Secretary D S Rawat.

However, the cost of private day schools, annual fees average Rs 80,000 per child, though they are considerably higher in metropolitan cities. Private prep schools for children aged between 3 to 5 years cost parents nearly Rs 50,000-70,000 a year.

Annual transport costs per child averages Rs 15,000-25,000; lunches cost Rs 12,000; uniform and shoes cost parents Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000. In the absence of competition, schools force partents to buy uniform, text-books, stationery, shoes etc. from shops authorised by schools that charge up to five times the normal price.

On children between aged 5-15, the average spent each month for ‘regular’ items of spending like holidays, birthdays, food, clothing, activities and hobbies, school, childcare, toys, games, books and magazines and telephone calls come to around Rs 2,000-5,000.

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