The enormous size of the Indian private coaching industry is dumbfounding. In metros, 87% of primary school children and up to 95% secondary school children attend private tutoring. In rural areas, around 30% school children go to paid private tuition. The size of private coaching industry in India in 2015 was estimated to be around 40 billion dollars or 2.5 lakh crore rupees. (These figures are based on the survey by ASSOCHAM – The Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India – http://assocham.org/).
A common tax payer honestly pays income tax every year. The government is unable to provide basic educational infrastructure from this tax and hence the common man is made to pay an additional 3% education cess. However, he still cannot send his children to the dismal government schools and hence ends up paying big fees to the private schools. These school fees are hiked pretty much every year and there is no framework to regulate it. To top it all, a distraught parent pays an exorbitant price for private coaching classes. In metro cities, most parents spend Rs 1000 to 3000 per month on tuition of a primary-level child and Rs 5000 or more per month on tuition of a secondary-level child, according to the ASSOCHAM survey.
It’s a gloomy picture where parents spend a fortune on education and children sit in enclosed classrooms all day long in a boring routine setup. The same things that are learned, rather read in school, are revised again in private tuition. There is no curiosity or excitement, let alone any challenge. Children spend their days in school classrooms and evenings in coaching classes. Most children don’t get enough time for sports or other creative hobbies. They don’t learn much in this process either (although they are better equipped for exams). Spending evenings in coaching classes does not teach you the key skills of self-learning, critical thinking and the ability to focus on the task without any supervision. These skills can be acquired only when children study all by themselves.
Private tuition has become a new normal in school education today. There are many reasons for this trend such as competing peer groups, exam-oriented culture, lack of trust in school standards and the lack of ability or inclination of parents to provide time and guidance to their children.
The social obsession of ‘compare and compete’ has taken over the joy of childhood, the meaning of education and life in general. We are paying and making our children pay the price for the same.