Education, Government of India, India

Data: Per student expenditure on education in Urban areas is three times the expenditure in rural areas


The 75th round of the NSS looked at various aspects of education including expenditure. Data indicates that per student expenditure on education in urban areas is three times the expenditure in rural areas. Stark difference is also observed in the expenditure on education between males & female, especially in the case of technical/professional courses at the diploma level.

As part of the survey findings of 75th round of National Sample Survey (NSS), the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) released a report titled ‘Household Social Consumption on Education in India’. 

This nation-wide survey was conducted by National Statistical Office (NSO) during the period July 2017-June 2018. The earlier round of survey on this topic i.e. Household Social Consumption on Education in India was during the 71st round of NSS (January – June 2014). 

The survey on social consumption on education provides the data on various indicators relating to education like – level of education, attendance, incentives received by the students, expenditure on education etc. and offers insights which can be used in decision support, policy inferences and analysis. 

In another story based on this report, we analysed the trends regarding the students’ preference and attendance in various education institutions. In this story, we delve into the household expenditure on Education as per this report based on 75th round of NSS. 

High variation in expenditure on education at early levels between Urban & Rural areas

The expenditure on education in urban area is nearly three times that in rural area as an average of all levels of education for a general course as per the findings of this survey. 

The average expenditure in rural areas is Rs. 5,240 while it is Rs. 16,308 in Urban areas. While at all the levels of education i.e. from Pre-primary to Post Graduate and above, the average expenditure per student is higher in the urban areas when compared to the rural areas, the difference is stark at early levels of education. 

The average amount spent per student at the pre-primary level in an academic year is Rs. 5,655 in rural areas which in Urban areas is nearly threefold with Rs. 14,509.  Even at the Primary level, the expenditure per student per academic year is Rs. 3,545 to Rs. 13,516 for rural and urban areas respectively. This large variance between rural and urban areas also extends to other levels of education – Upper Primary, Higher secondary & secondary along with Diploma and Certificate courses. The difference is comparatively lesser from graduate level and above even though the expenditure incurred per student is higher at these levels. 

Significantly higher amount is spent by Males in Urban areas for Diploma/Certificate course 

Apart from the difference in expenditure between rural and urban areas, difference also exists between the amount spent on education of males and females.  The extent of this difference varies across different levels of education. 

As noticed earlier, the difference in rural and urban areas is stark at early levels of education with the difference comparatively lesser at higher levels of education. In terms of gender, the difference in expenditure per student for a basic course does not vary much between the genders in the same locality setting, with certain exceptions. 

General courses at the Diploma/certificate level offer this variance – both at below graduate level and graduate & above levels. 

  • Contrary to the general trend, the amount spent on a Diploma/Certificate at below graduate level in a rural locality is higher for females (Rs. 9228) compared to that of a male (Rs. 8017). 
  • In the case of urban areas, the amount spent for Diploma/Certificate course at below graduate level is exponential higher for males compared to that of females. An urban male student on an average spends Rs. 35,785 per year compared to Rs. 10,189 spent by a female student at this level. 
  • The trend is same in case of Diploma/Certificate at graduate level or above, where-in the expenditure incurred by a male student in an academic year is Rs. 27,198 compared to a female student who spends Rs. 10,543 in the urban areas.
  • In case of a Technical course, the difference is much higher. More than Rs. 1 lakh is spent on  a diploma course at graduate level or higher by males, whereas around Rs. 45 thousand is spent by females for securing a diploma/certificate at graduate or higher level. 

Expenditure on Technical/Professional Course is nearly 6 times more than cost of general course 

As per the survey findings, the average expenditure on a general course per academic year is Rs. 8,331 per student whereas in case of technical/professional course, the average cost is around 6-fold with Rs. 50,337 per student in an academic year. Not much difference exists between a male and female student, even though the expenditure incurred on education by males is slightly higher. 

However, there does exist larger variance between rural and urban locations. The expenditure in a rural area on a general course is Rs. 5,240 per student in an academic year whereas the same in an urban area is Rs.16,308. 

In the case of a technical/professional course in a rural area the expenditure is Rs. 32,137 while it is almost double in Urban areas with Rs. 64,763 per student in an academic year. 

Expenditure on Course fee, transport & private coaching is higher in urban areas 

A major portion of the expenditure incurred on education is for the course fee. Course fee includes the expenditure towards – tuition fee, examination fee and other compulsory payments etc. Both in rural areas as well as urban areas, the course fee constitutes nearly 50% of the total expenditure towards education per student in an academic year. 

As observed in this story already, the expenditure is significantly higher in the urban areas compared to that of rural areas. Apart from the course fee, the expenditure incurred on transport along with private coaching is also higher in the urban areas. 

On an average, Rs.788 is spent on transportation in rural areas whereas it is Rs. 1939 in urban areas. The expenditure incurred on private coaching is comparatively higher in Urban areas. While Rs. 584 is spent on private coaching in rural areas, it is more than 3 times in urban areas with Rs.1952 per student.

Although the expenditure on males is comparatively higher, there is no significant difference based on gender. These numbers are across courses i.e. both general and technical education. 

The higher expenditure as noted earlier for technical education is largely due to the higher amount being spent on the course fee. Around 80% of the expenditure incurred on technical education is due to course fee. 

Significantly higher expenditure in Urban areas compared to Rural areas 

A consistent trend observed across the courses (general & technical) and gender is that the expenditure incurred in urban areas is significantly higher compared to that of rural areas. Details of the various components shows that a major portion of the expenditure is due to higher course fee in urban areas compared to the course fee in rural areas. 

Although transportation and private coaching expenditure are also higher, their proportion is lesser compared to the course fee. In the earlier story, we observed that a major portion of the students in rural areas attend government institutions whereas those in the urban areas lean towards private institutions. This could partly explain the rationale behind the higher expenditure in urban areas.  

Another trend observed in terms of gender is the higher expenditure on securing diploma or certificate courses (both general and technical) by males compared to females. These courses are beyond the regular academics and tend to be vocational or additional proficiency  courses in nature. Higher expenditure for males shows more propensity to invest in education of a male compared to that of females. It could also indicate the nature of courses being chosen by males compared to females. 

While lower expenditure in rural areas due to higher enrolment in government institutions can be a positive trend in terms of accessibility of education, the same cannot be said regarding quality, as highlighted in the earlier story.  

About the Survey: For the 75th round of the survey, a sample of 64,519 rural households from 8,097 villages and 49,23 urban households from 6,188 blocks were covered across India. The survey gives both qualitative and quantitative information, covering students falling in the age bracket of three to thirty-five years who attend educational institutions at different levels from pre-primary to graduate level and beyond. Data in the survey is based on information provided by respondents and not from official sources. 

Featured Image: Expenditure on education


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