Education

In India, private coaching is $6.5-billion business

Aesha Datta New Delhi | Updated on July 05, 2012

The ADB report says whopping 60 per cent of primary school children and up to 83 per cent students in high schools receive private tutoring in India.   -  Business Line

The rising middle class, the desire to stay ahead in the global economy, and the falling quality of mainstream education system mean that examination-oriented coaching classes have taken over the life of most school-going children in India and other countries.

According to the report Shadow Education: Private Supplementary Tutoring and Its Implications for Policy Makers in Asia, released by the Asian Development Bank, in India a whopping 60 per cent of primary school children and up to 83 per cent students in high schools receive private tutoring.

Shadow education is a widely used term for private tutoring, as it mimics the mainstream and modifies itself according to the conventional system.

Talking about the private coaching industry in India, the report said, “Nationally, a 2008 market survey of companies offering coaching estimated the size of the sector at $6.4 billion and predicted an annual growth of 15 per cent over the subsequent four years.”

The report notes that in 2007-08, students living in both rural and urban India paid an average of Rs 1,456-2,349 a year for private coaching classes.

The poverty line in the country is set at Rs 965 for the urban and Rs 781 for the rural citizen. The report added that according to a study conducted by the Pratichi Trust, established by noted Nobel Economist Amartya Sen, the increasing demand for private coaching is not only because of rising incomes, but also because of the belief that it is “unavoidable.”

The research notes that, “…78 per cent parents now believe it is indeed ‘unavoidable’ — up from 62 per cent. For those who do not have arrangements for private tuition, 54 per cent indicate that they do not go for it mainly — or only — because they cannot afford the costs.”

Dividing the students

Noting that perceptions of inadequacies in mainstream schooling, where teachers often do not come for classes or complete the curriculum, are is a major reason for the growth of private tutoring, the report added, “Sen noted that most of the content in the private tutorial classes could and should have been taught in the regular classes of the primary schools.

He added that private tutoring divides the student population into haves and have-nots; it makes teachers less responsible; it makes improvements in schooling arrangements more difficult since the more influential and better-placed families have less at stake in the quality of what is done in the schools.”

> aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 05, 2012

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