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Do the costs of college education outweigh the benefits?

outweigh the benefitsFor last two decades, education perspective in India has gone though vast changes. With size of families shrinking, parents of the nuclear families have now begun to opt only for the best in education for their children. While a sizeable portion from the income of parents goes towards the school and college fees of the children, parents pin their ambitions on the future of their children. As successive planning by the government went in seventies and eighties, the aim was to bring in quality professional courses, which would open ways for employment for youth. Thanks to the emerging information technology in the early nineties in last phase of 20th century, a number of young people got scope for employment in that field. Despite availability of various technical and professional courses, education in India has gone on to become more expensive. Parents have now begun alleging that it has gone beyond their means to afford. But admittedly, education in India now-a-days has become prospective with the openings available in various corporate sectors. Unemployment scenario in India has now gone though a makeover with availability of new types of employment and new patterns of courses in the colleges.

Let’s evaluate the cost and benefit aspect of college education in India now-a-days, although parents have begun feeling that costs of education outweigh its benefits.

The cost of college degree in India varies significantly

The cost of college degree in India varies significantlyAs the trend in India goes now-a-days, there are two types of education available for under-graduate studies in India. The first one is the students could opt to study in government colleges or private colleges. Competition to study in Government College is very high, although fees are nominal. As education in government institution is fully subsidized, fees are less. On the contrary, private colleges in India charge excessively. As those run as profit business models, fees charged by such institutions stay very high. The difference between private and government college education is the quality of education. In the last two decades, private colleges have tuned in to the demand for skill-set from the Indian industries and for that industries have shown increasing interest in hiring students through special campus recruitments. But most of the government colleges have not kept the standard of teaching and other facilities for the students’ up-to-the-mark and for these reason industries do not show any interest in hiring students for employment through campus recruitment programs from the government-run institutions. As private institutions have kept nice standards in teaching with other facilities, such institutions charge high fees. As the trend goes now-a-days, after 10+2, students are opting more for studying in private institutions because of employment prospective.

What kind of benefit the colleges imparts in exchange of education fees?

 benefit the collegesBoth private and government colleges follow one course-syllabus. But the private colleges have better faculty members, facilities for laboratories, play ground, and other utilities for the overall development of students. This is the reason more than 50% of parents in Indian middle class families have now opted for sending their children to the top-rated private colleges. As under-graduate studies are doors to professional world, parents of the students prefer to spend more in giving training to their children only in the premier private colleges, where knowledge and skills come at a premium price.

Quality in education in India comes at a price

Quality in education in India comes at a priceIn India, when parents want to send their children for quality education, it comes at a premium price. And the price is really exorbitant. Most of the top private institutions in India charge their students very highly. The fees the students pay in lieu of teaching is at least 10 times more than the real quality in the education provided in such colleges.  A recent report in the leading English daily -Times of India- expresses concern that keeping pace with the increasing costs of education in the private colleges, government is also not lagging behind in increasing the fees for education in its colleges. The recent decision by HRD industry to hike the fees in IITs by 80% could serve as an instance. The same report also cites the fact that quality of education in Government Colleges is still dismal, while private colleges keep on charging arbitrarily their students under the pretexts of various fees. Another report in Hindustan Times voices concern that education sector has gone through a five- fold price rise indicating that it has surpassed even the inflationary trend taking place in the prices of common food items.

Same syllabus but increasing fees

increasing feesThe syllabus for the students does not change every year but course-fee takes a double leap even in a single year. Regrettably, the course curricular in colleges does not focus on bringing out the best in the creativity of the students but colleges keep on pressing their demands for the hike in course fees. A survey by government of India has found out that out of total number of students passing out of engineering colleges, only 5% from them are fit for employment. Lack of standard of the students in their performance in various recruitment tests prove to a great extent that colleges are only interested in selling certificates of various courses without minding for the overall development in the standards of the students. Apart from a few deserving institutions, college education in India cuts a sad figure in the entire world.

Reasonable course fees and quality of education-needs of the hour

Reasonable course fees Now it stands as a government’s responsibility to check the increasing costs of education in the colleges of India. Quality, which has taken the backseat in the teaching in the colleges, needs much improvement.  But still the good trend in India is that despite the increase in costs, interest of people to go for quality in education has not taken a beating. Moreover, people have come up with increasing demand for good education and it remains the duty of the government to regulate the cost reason, while stressing more on the quality in education.