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Title: Fee regulation of private schools across different states in India
Authors: V., Ponmathi
S.P., Shankar
E., Swathy
Keywords: Education;Primary school;Fee regulations worldwide;State level fee regulatory committees
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Series/Report no.: SP_2464
Abstract: Education plays a central role, as it has a crosscutting impact on all aspects of one’s life. It is a vital investment not only for one’s personal development, but also for the nation’s economic development. A sound education produces quality human capital that accelerates economic activity and development, by fostering entrepreneurship, productivity, empowerment, and improved employment opportunities in the nation. A lack of quality human capital in the country shall result in unemployment and underemployment, a condition characterized by significant loss of earnings and unrealized tax revenues[1], in the long term. Recognizing this, the Government of India has undertaken significant steps like Right To Education (RTE), to ensure quality education and accessibility to all its citizens. Such thrust has yielded Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) exceeding 100[2], at the primary school level. But the enrolment consistently falls with the successive levels of education[3]. The national dropout rate peaks at the secondary level (class 9-10) at 17%, compared to 4% in elementary level (class 1-8) and 2% in higher secondary level (class 11-12)[3]. The reasons for dropout are financial constraints, parents’ unwillingness and unawareness, distance of school, security issues (more significant among girl children), and lack of interest in studies. Among the mentioned factors, financial constraints of a household significantly reduces the probability of children attending school[4]. Financial constraints imply high cost of schooling, low household income or both. In India, the cost of schooling is higher in private schools than in public schools. As the private schools possess better learning outcomes, parents largely prefer private schools. The increase in number of private schools in the country is much higher than that of public schools. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of private schools have grown by 35% (from 0.22 mn schools to 0.3 mn), while public schools have grown by 1% (from 1.03 mn to 1.04 mn)[5]. Currently, India has 3.5 lakh private unaided schools, constituting 24% of all schools in the country. Over 75 mn children, i.e., 38% of all school students study in private unaided schools[6]. Thus private schools in India share a huge load of the education sector. Leveraging parents’ demand for them, private schools impose steep fee-hike year on year. Hence addressing the high cost of schooling is one of the most important legal and political challenges confronted by the nation today. Recurring events like rising PILs filed against schools’ fee hike, parents staging protests and agitations across the nation, and government forming committees like Anil Dev Singh Committee to study the scenario and recommend policy changes - depict the magnitude of the challenge and the pressing need for an effective fee regulation mechanism.
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