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Spending on engineering, vocational courses doubled in 7 years: Survey

Economic Times:  July, 2015

New Delhi: India's household spends on engineering education and vocational courses doubled in the sevenyear period to 2014, the latest National Sample Survey on education showed. Besides the rise in inflation in education and a greater interest in these courses, this could be attributed to the mushrooming of private institutes.

Expenditure on technical education doubled to Rs 62,841 per year in 2014 as against Rs 32,112 in 2007-08, while spending on general education tripled to Rs 6,788. Expenditure on vocational courses also shot up over the sevenyear period to Rs 27,676 from Rs 14,881.

"The significant rise in education spend at higher education level could be attributed to a larger proportion of people going for private education facilities than the government ones. In the last seven years we have seen a large number of private colleges opening up that have driven up the average spend," said National Statistical Commission Chairman Pronab Sen.

According to the report by the 71st round of Survey on Social Consumption: Education by the NSS, the average expenditure on technical education in private aided & unaided institutions varied from government institutions by nearly 1.5-2.5 times. Engineering emerged as a hot course among males, with nearly half studying technical courses opting for it. On the other hand, 43% of female students studying technical courses went for medicine and engineering courses combined.

The rise in demand for engineering and medical courses also bolstered the trend for private tuitions in the country. Nearly 26% of the students went for private coaching in 2014 as against 19% in 2007-08.

The number of students between the ages of 25-29 years who went for technical education saw a slight improvement in the seven years, going up to 4% in 2014 from 1.9% in 2007-08.

Humanities was the most attended course among those going for general education, but 54% females were studying this in comparison with 46% males. The comparison of students going for general education shrunk to 95.2% from 97.8%.

Adult literacy jumped substantially to 71% in 2014 from 66% in 2007-08, reported the survey, which was conducted between January and June 2014. Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Kerala, Goa, Delhi, Chandigarh and Lakshadweep had more than 90% of literates in the age group of seven years and above.

At the primary level, the expenditure per student in urban areas, at Rs 10,083, was four times more than that in rural areas. In the age of digital India, nearly 27% of households with at least one 14-year-old had Internet access. In the age group of 14-29 years, nearly 18% in rural areas and 49% in urban areas could operate a computer.

Nearly 60% of students attending primary and upper primary level classes received free education. The proportion of students in primary and upper primary level getting free mid-day meals in the institutions was around 62%.

The proportion of persons having completed the level of graduation and above was much less in rural areas (only 4.5% for males and 2.2% for females), in comparison to urban areas (17% for males and 13% for females). The rural female literacy in Andhra, Telangana, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and UP remained lower than the national average.