According to a recent study, Indian parents spend on an average $18,909 (about Rs 12.22 lakh) toward the education of each of their children from primary school to the undergraduate level. The study also reveals that this expense is much lower than the global average of $44,221. This amount of Rs 12.22 lakh per child includes all aspects of education costs (including school or college tuition fees, educatiol books, transport and communication) from primary school up to university undergraduate level according to HSBC’s ‘The Value of Education’ series titled ‘Higher and Higher’. This can be compared with the $132,161 that parents in Hong Kong spend on the education of their children or the $99,378 that parents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) spend or the $70,939 that parents in Singapore spend. These are three of the 15 countries and territories including Australia, Cada, Chi, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, UK and the United States that figured in the study under reference. While India is at the 13th position among the 15 countries surveyed, Egypt with $16,863 followed by France with $16,708 are somehow at the bottom of the list. What is indeed remarkable is that France should be spending as little as $16,708 on every child which puts it at the bottom of the list below even Egypt. This is clearly not an indication of what French parents can afford to spend on the education of their children. It is rather an indication of what they wish to spend on the education of their children. It is also an indication of their wish to see their children being able to fend for themselves by securing the scholarships they need for higher education. The general tradition in Europe is that parents generally spend on the education of their children up to the higher secondary level. Beyond that, students with ambitions of higher education are expected to secure scholarships or educatiol loans on their own in order to continue their education.
In any case, the amount of money invested on the education of individuals is generally spent in the currency of the country in question. Attempts to convert this to US dollars merely for the sake of comparisons can yield unreliable information, since the purchasing power of any currency is country-specific. As such, what seems a very low figure of investment on education by a particular country may not actually be irratiolly meagre for a country that rates a fairly high purchasing power for its currency locally. Besides, what can appear to be very meagre spending on education can produce results that are comparable with the results achieved in countries that are able to spend much more on the education of their children. This fact was underscored recently when children of Maria’s Public School of Guwahati were able to win seven gold and 13 silver medals in at the recently concluded Tenth Global Round Anniversary of the World Scholars Cup held at Hanoi. Among the 3,600 scholars from 40 countries of the world that participated in the event, Maria’s Public School had only 14. But neither the number of children from the school nor the amount of money spent on their education by their parents seems to have stood in the way of their remarkable performance at this intertiol meet. We are not aware whether children from Hong Kong or the UAE (that spend the most on the education of their children) attended the World Scholars Cup at Hanoi or how they fared. And so, while it is certainly surprising to discover that among the 15 countries surveyed, a country like France spends the least on the education of its individuals, the fact remains that this does not seem to have affected the quality of French education.