Demand for private tuition classes under the free education policy. Evidence based on Sri Lanka


Private tuition classes are growing phenomenon in Sri Lanka especially among students who prepare for competitive national school qualifying examinations. It is one of major education issues under the free education policy in Sri Lanka. It can tarnish the real purpose of free education policy. In this paper, I examine the demand for private tuition classes in Sri Lanka by using two waves of Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES) conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) of Sri Lanka in 1995/96 and 2006/07.I find that the demand for private tuition classes has increased in recent time among households. It seems that the private tuition expenditure has changed from a luxury good in 1995/96 to a necessity good in 2006/07. If the increased demand for private tuition classes is reflecting parents' concerns on inadequate and poor, but free education in public schools, the Sri Lanka government needs to reconsider its free education policy.