Return to frontpage

NSSO - Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India: Education

Chennai, 26/11/2014: For City: Students at Adi Dravidar high School, Palavakkam, ECR on Wednesday. Photo: M. Karunakaran - | Photo Credit: M. Karunakaran -

NSSO had conducted an all-India household survey on education during the period January – June 2014. The purpose of the survey was to collect information on participation of persons aged 5-29 years in pursuit of education in the country; the extent of use of educational infrastructure, facilities and incentives provided by the government and private sectors and its impact on current attendance status of population in the educational institutions; private expenditure incurred by households on education and the extent of educational wastage in terms of dropping-out and discontinuance, and its causes.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, conducted a survey on “ Social Consumption: Education” during NSS 71stRound, January to June 2014. The previous survey on the same subject was conducted by NSSO during July 2007 - June 2008 as a part of its 64 th Round. In order to make available the main results of the survey to the data users within reasonable time, NSSO has released the Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India: Education based on the data collected in the 71 st Round Survey.

In most of the countries, government spenda substantial amount of financial resources on the creation as well as running of the educational infrastructure. However, for availing such facilities, individuals pursuing education also incur expenditure in the form of tuition fees, examination fees, charges for stationery, books, etc. Though information on the expenditure incurred by the governments is available in budget documents, the data on education expenditure made by individuals have to be collected through specialised household surveys. The main objective of survey on ‘ Social Consumption: Education ’ was to assess the (a) participation of persons aged 5-29 years in pursuit of education, (b) extent of use of educational infrastructure, facilities and incentives provided by Government, (c) private expenditure incurred by households on education, (d) the extent of educational wastage in terms of dropping-out and discontinuance and its causes, and (e) IT literacy of persons aged 14 years and above.

The survey covered the whole of the Indian Union. The results of the survey are based only on the Central Sample canvassed by NSSO, consisting of 4,577 villages and 3,720 urban blocks, spread over all States and Union Territories of the country.Theinformation was collected from 36,479 households in rural areas and 29,447 households in urban areas during the 71st round.

Some key indicators on various aspects of social consumption on education in the country as obtained from the survey during January-June 2014 are as follows:

I. Literacy1rates

Literacy rate among persons of age 7 years and above in India was 75%. In rural areas, literacy rate was 71% compared to 86% in urban areas.

Differences in literacy rate among persons of age 7 years and above was observed with male literacy rate being substantially higher (83%) than female literacy rate (67%).

Adult literacy (age 15 years and above) rate in India was around 71%. For adults also, literacy rate in rural areas was lower than that in urban areas. In rural areas, adult literacy rate was 64% as compared to 84% in urban areas.

II. Accessibility of nearest primary, upper primary and secondary school

No significant difference between rural and urban India existed in terms of distance for physical access to primary schooling. In both rural and urban areas,nearly 99% households reported availability of primary school within 2 kms from the house.

For accessing educational institutions providing higher level of learning, say upper primary or secondary, a lower proportion of households in rural areas compared to the households in urban areas reported existence of such facilities within 2 kms.

Nearly 86% of rural households and 96% of urban households reported upper primary schools within a distance of 2 kmsfrom the house while nearly 60% of rural households and 91% of urban households reported secondary schools atsuch a distance.

III. Completed level of education among persons of age 5 years and above

The proportion of personshaving completed higher level of education, say, graduation and above, was more in the urban areas than in the rural areas.

In the rural areas, nearly 4.5% of males and 2.2% of females completed education level of ‘graduation and above’while in the urban areas 17% of males and 13% of females completed this level of education.

IV. Attendance and enrolment

In both rural and urban areas, a very small proportion ofpersons (nearly 1 per cent) in the age group 5-29 years, were currently enrolled but not attending educational institutions.

In rural areas 58.7% of males and 53% of females in the 5-29 age-group were currently attending educational institution. In urban areas, the percentages being 57% for males and 54.6% for females.

V. Attendance ratios

Gross Attendance Ratiofor level ‘primary’ was nearly 100% for both males and females in rural and urban areas.

Gross Attendance Ratio at level ‘primary to higher secondary’ was 91% and 88% for rural males and females respectively, marginally lower as compared to 93% for both males and females in urban sector.

Net Attendance Ratio in India at primary level was 84%formale and 83%for female children in the age-group 6-10 years, the official age-group for Classes I-V.

There was no major rural-urban or male-female disparity at all-India level till elementary level (primary and upper primary) in the Net Attendance Ratio.

VI. Current attendance by type of education

In India nearly 85% of the students in age-group 15-29 years were pursuing general education

Nearly 12.6% and 2.4 % students in age-group 15-29 years were attending technical/professional and vocational courses respectively.

VII. Attendance by type of courses

Among the male students pursuing general education, 46% were pursuing humanities as compared to 54% of the female students, 35% of the male students were pursuing science compared to 28% female students and 20% of the male students were pursuing commerce compared to 18% of the female students.

Among the male students pursing technical/professional education, 46% were pursuing engineering compared to 29% of the female students and4% of the male students were pursuing medicine(including nursing) compared to 14% of the female students.

VIII. Type of institution attended

In rural areas, majority of the students were attending government institutions predominantly up to higher secondary levels, whereas a completely different picture was observed in urban areas.

In rural areas, 72% of the students at primary level, 76% at upper primary level and 64% at secondary & higher secondary level attended Government institutions, while in urban areas, 31% at primary level, 38% at upper primary level as well as secondary & higher secondary level, attended Government institutions.

IX. Incentives received

Almost 94% students from rural areas and 87% students from urban areas at primary level studying in government institutions were receiving free education.

At upper primary level, 89% students in rural areas and 80% students in urban areas,studying in government institutions were receiving free education.

At secondary and higher secondary level, 58% students in rural areas and 52% students in urban areas,studying in government institutions,received free education.

63% of students at primary level and 62% of students at upper primary level received mid-day meal.

X. Private coaching

At the all-India level, nearly 26% of the students were taking private coaching.

XI. Students staying in hostel

Nearly 5% of the students in India were staying in hostel for study.

XII. Private expenditure on education

Average expenditure (₹) per studentincurred and/or to be incurred during the current academicsession was nearly ₹ 6788 for general education, ₹ 62841 for technical/professional (except vocational) and ₹ 27676 for vocational course

At primary level, expenditure per student in urban areas was ₹ 10083, more than four times than that in rural areas (₹ 2811).

Average expenditure on technical education in private aided & unaided institutions varied between nearly 1.5-2.5 times of that in government institutions.

Nearly 46% of the expenditure forgeneral education and 73% of the expenditure for technical education was on course fee.

For students pursuing general courses, 15% was spent on private coachingas against 3% for students pursuing technical/professional education (including vocational).

XIII. Never-enrolment and discontinuance of education

In India, nearly 11% of the persons of age 5-29 years in rural areas and 6% in urban areas never enrolled in any educational institution.

In India, proportion of persons in the age group 5-29 years dropping out/discontinued studies werenearly 33% in rural areas and 38% in urban areas.

For the males of age 5-29 years, engagement in economic activities was the most common reason for dropping out (30% in rural areas and 34% in urban areas), whereas for the females, the dominant reason was engagement in domestic activities (33% in rural areas and 23% in urban areas).

In rural areas, the major reason for never enrolment for persons of age 5-29 years was ‘not interested in education’ (33% male and 27% female) while in urban areas, nearly 33% males and 30% females in the age group 5-29 years never enrolled because of ‘financial contraints’.

XIV. Access to computer and internet

Nearly 6% of rural households and 29% of urban household possessed computer.

In India, among households with at least one member of age 14 years and above,nearly 27% had internet access in the survey year, 2014. The proportions were 16% among rural households and 49% of urban households.

Among persons of age 14-29 years, nearly 18% in rural areas and 49% in urban areas were able to operate a computer.


The publication based on above cited Key Indicators is also available on the website ( ) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.


1. ^ A person who can read and write a simple message in any language with understanding is considered literate

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email The Hindu Centre