It isn’t all about the big fat Indian wedding—at least when it comes to parents opening up their bank accounts. Education is turning out to be a much more convincing reason.
A new report by HSBC, which polled 302 Indian parents with at least one child under 23 years, finds that education is their top spending priority, far ahead of marriage, funds to start a business for their child and even long-term investments.
For 46% of parents, making decisions about their child’s education is actually “daunting”, although an overwhelming 90% are sure that their children must to go university and 83% want them to continue on to postgraduate studies.
But there’s some regret, too—58% wish they’d begun planning and saving for this earlier. The result is that most parents depend heavily on their current income to pay for school.
More than half the parents polled believe that the Indian education system is better than the best available abroad. But by the time their children reach university, 85% are willing to consider a foreign education. The biggest driver for sending their children abroad is international work experience, greater opportunities and interestingly, the idea that their kids will become more confident.
Back in India, parents are more open to funding private education in the later stages, particularly high school and university education. However, there are some who believe that private schools are too career-focused and not worth the money. Nearly 30% of fathers, moreover, thought that private education was too elitist, while only 19% of mothers had the same belief.
In the end, though, after all the travails of primary and secondary education, the focus is predictably on earning potential when it’s time to go to university.
A family’s household income does have an impact on expectations. Almost 35% parents with higher household incomes placed a greater emphasis on their children getting a wide range of real life experiences during university. Only 21% of parents with lower household income expected the same.
But 70% of all parents are convinced about one thing—spending on their child’s education is the best investment they’ll ever make.