With the rise in private school fees by nearly 200% in the last five-six years, children in one-parent working families now cost 30% more than children in both-parent working families, a study by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) suggests.

Majority of parents spend, on an average, Rs 20–25 Lakh raising a child by the time the teen passes out of the high school. Parents invest an average 60% of their income in their children's education.

Seventy-eight per cent parents in one-member-earning families often find it impossible to pay even for one child’s education. So, the demand of dual income is very common to fulfill the education cost.

The Assocham survey on the “Steep Rise in Education Fees” highlighted that school expenses, including tuition fees, have doubled to Rs 1.20 lakh per annum during 2005-11 on a single child. The school-related expenses include uniforms, books, stationery, transport, sports activities, school trips, contributions to schools funds, school aids, tuitions, and extra-curricular activities.

According to the survey, 85% of parents spend more than half of their take-home pay on their children's education, extra coaching and extra-curricular activities, placing significant burden on their family budget.

An estimated six crore children in India are now educated in private schools, with fees usually rising well above inflation, said Ms Bhagyesh Soneji, Chairperson, Assocham Gujarat Council.

The average fees of private day schools are Rs. 80,000 per annum, which is much higher in metropolitan cities. Private preparatory schools for kids aged 3 to 5 years cost Rs 50,000-70,000 a year. Transport costs an average of 15,000-25,000 per child per year. Parents spend 12,000 per child on lunches. Packed lunches cost more than school lunches.

Uniforms and shoes cost Rs 10,000 -15,000 per child while footwear works out as being more expensive than textbooks. In the absence of competition, schools often force the parents to buy uniform, text book, stationery, shoes etc. from school shops only which is five times higher than the normal price.

Private tuitions have also witnessed an increase of about 45-60% in the last six. Parents spend Rs. 2,000-5,000 per month on private tuition for each primary-level child. Secondary-level tuition set parents back by about Rs.6,000-12,000 monthly.

Even poor families spend 40% of disposable income on private schools and universities, rather than expose their children to government schools. These fees pose a very real barrier for the children of poor families.