Global Report: Indian Parents Spend Most Time Helping Kids With Schoolwork
Yet, we’re also satisfied with the quality of teaching. How does that work out?
Today, the Varkey Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving education for underprivileged children around the world, released its global survey of parents. It’s a fascinating peek into how parents in India and abroad think about their children’s schooling. The survey explores parents wants, dreams and (dis)satisfaction. We mined the report for the most interesting tidbits — most notably, the fact that parents in India spend significantly more time than anywhere else in the world helping kids with schoolwork, and are, overall, happy with the quality of their children’s instruction — this, despite growing debate on how beneficial homework actually is.
In each of 29 countries, 1,000 surveys were conducted (in three of the countries, 300-500 surveys were conducted) with parents of children aged 4-18. Fathers and mothers were interviewed equally. In India, as with several other countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia, the results are indicative of the thoughts of the urban, online population, a group likely to be better educated and financially better off than the population at large. The report unfortunately stops short of making recommendations or drawing conclusions, but it does leave readers with food for thought.
Below, the report’s most interesting findings:
Some things about parenthood are universal, and one of those things appears to be worry over whether our offspring will be successful.
Globally, one of the biggest concerns parents have about their children’s future is whether they will get a job and have a successful career. Secondary to this concern is children’s quality of life in adulthood – how much money the child will make and how far it goes. Third is children’s general safety – from crime to peer-pressured, risky behaviors (but not including terrorism, discrimination or climate change).
When it comes to what parents worry about regarding school, most parents globally are concerned that kids are happy and enjoy school.
Parents think India’s free government schools are good — but not good enough.
Nearly half of all Indian parents rate the country’s government schools as ‘good’ or ‘very good.’ For parents whose children actually attend a free government school, 70% consider the system broadly good. And this satisfaction increases with age; in India, more parents over age 45 (72%) than anywhere else, believe the country’s standard of education has improved over the past decade.
And yet, 85% of all Indian parents say they would choose to pay for school, if it was an affordable and available option, rather than send kids to a free state school. Given the recent swing (numbering in the millions of students) toward enrollment in India’s private schools, it’s not just talk.
Perhaps because parents’ confidence is higher in private-school teachers than in government-school teachers.
In India, 89% of parents with children attending fee-based schools rated their children’s teachers as ‘good,’ while 79% of parents with children attending free schools rated teachers ‘good.’
Yet there’s a confusing disconnect: Despite general high faith in the quality of instruction, Indian parents spend more time helping kids with schoolwork each week than any other country surveyed — and twice the global average.
Each week, Indian parents spend, on average, 12 hours helping kids with schoolwork. The only other parents to come close are parents in Vietnam, who spend roughly 10 hours a week helping kids with homework. Parents in Turkey, Colombia, Indonesia and Uganda all spend little more than 8 hours a week. The global average is little more than 6 hours a week.
It’s unclear if parents are happy with this situation…
While 49% of Indian parents would like to see investment in more or better pay for teachers (presumably, improving the standard of instruction), more parents identified computers/technology and extracurricular opportunities as their top, preferred areas for school investment.
… most think this amount of assistance with schoolwork is necessary; some even think it’s the very least required.
More than 80% of Indian parents think they spend either the right amount, or too little time, helping kids with schoolwork outside of school.
Parents in India were the most satisfied in the world with how their country’s standard of education is trending.
Seventy-two percent of Indian parents believe the country’s standard of education is improving; on the whole, parents across Asia were most likely to see a positive trend to their country’s state of education.
Parents in India are the most confident in the world that their schools are preparing kids for a bright future.
Nearly 90% of Indian parents – the highest of all countries surveyed – felt optimistic that their child’s education will serve them well in 2030 and beyond. Our compatriots are a strange mix – parents from countries with strong public school systems, like Finland and the US, as well as parents from countries where, like India, private schools are preferred – Indonesia, Kenya, and China. It raises the question whether we are actually confident about what our children are learning, or whether we are biased by a desire to get our money’s worth. Because…
Among those who feel their child is underprepared, more than 50% are concerned schools don’t focus enough on new types of jobs and careers, and ‘softer,’ non-traditional skills.
The same number of parents wanted schools to focus more on preparing kids to use new and emerging technology, as well.
And that bright future better include university.
India, keeping company with Indonesia and most of Latin America, saw most parents (87%) rank university attendance as very important. Interestingly, more developed economies, with stronger state systems and stronger social safety nets, were least likely to see university as an imperative; fewer than 40% of parents in Finland, Germany, France, the UK and Japan thought university was very important.
Liesl Goecker is The Swaddle's managing editor.