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Indian parents manage increased school costs, device dependency: BIC Cello Survey

December 11, 2020

BIC, a globally renowned stationery brand and parent company of BIC Cello writing commissioned an in-depth survey across India and worldwide to understand the impact of the pandemic on parents and their children’s education.

In partnership with Toluna, a leading technology company that delivers real-time consumer insights, BIC Cello’s India survey of 400+parents whose kids belong to the age group of 4 -20 years in the cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata, found some interesting insights into how Indian parents coped with their new role as home-tutors as well as other top concerns, from increased costs of school supplies to managing children’s’ screen time.

Key learnings:  

  • 8 out of 10 parents have claimed that children are spending more time using electronic devices, majorly for KG to 8th standard students
  • Almost 50 percent of Indian parents feel that school is the best place for studies as children don’t feel inspired studying at home
  • More than 70 percent of parents have claimed that interaction between child and teacher has increased during the pandemic
  • 80 percent of parents feel that they are spending more time with their children on educational activities
  • 53 percent of parents found that trying to keep life ‘normal’ for their kids was the most challenging part of parenting during this timefollowed by limiting time on digital devices (48 percent), and keeping their child busy when the school work is done (44 percent)
  • Indian parents have rated themselves highly as teachers, however, 64 percent of parents struggle the most with Mathematics while teaching their child, especially in higher standards
  • Screen time for kids has also increased: 69 percent of parents reported that their children are spending more time in front of screens, while 62 percent feel their kids are actively engaged in creative and extra-curricular activities

Chester Twigg, BIC Chief Commercial Officer said, “The research gives us an in-depth insight into the evolving needs of Indian families as we all grapple with the global pandemic. We are pleased to see that despite the drastic changes in the education model, there are some positive changes children and parents have adapted to. Children are expressing themselves creatively through offline activities, such as handwriting, coloring and drawing while parents have spent quality time with their kids throughout this year. At BIC and BIC Cello we are proud to provide families and children with the essential tools they need for learning, working and self-expression, and we hope we can help spark a little joy and imagination during these difficult times.”

Parents are spending more on school supplies

The average spending on school supplies has shot up from INR 8,000 to 20,000 or more, primarily due to investment in electronic items, while a significant dip of Rs 5,000 is seen in stationery, arts and crafts, and learning toys. A majority of Indian parents (especially in Delhi) have purchased school supplies online.

Indian parents are confident of their teaching abilities, but they are not comfortable teaching Mathematics to children studying in higher standards

While there is increased interaction between children and teachers, 80 percent of parents are spending more time with their kids on educational activities than they did pre-Covid.

  • 30 percent stated they were spending 2 or more hours a day
  • 21 percent are spending 3 or more hours a day
  • 14 percent reported spending 4 or more hours a day

Surprisingly, parents reported that they are struggling with mathematics the most (64 percent) followed by science (48 percent) and English / Hindi / Regional language (36 percent). 

Indian parents believe that studies are best done in school as kids are mostly occupied with electronic devices at home and it is difficult to keep them engaged

While parents have reported an increase in device dependency (69 percent), they are finding creative, offline alternatives for their children (62 percent) and engaging their children in extra-curricular activities (58 percent). However, almost 50 percent of parents feel that school is the best place for studies as children don’t feel enthusiastic studying from home, 19 percent% feel children can interact with peers and develop a better understanding of concepts at school, 17 percent feel teaching and learning experience is better at school and 13 percent feel that children are studying less as exams are on hold. Moreover, parents have also observed that children have become more dependent on them (24 percent).

City-specific inputs

  • Delhi
Key initiatives taken up by schools


Delhi ranks the highest when it comes to parents feeling confident about the nature and quality of online classes (84% of the Delhi subset)


33 percent parents in Delhi show lesser confidence in resource materials being given to parents to enable them to support school work at home as compared to Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata


Child and teacher interaction Parents and students in Delhi feel that they get more individual/face time with the teacher as compared to pre-Covid classroom settings
Parents rating themselves as teachers 39.2 percent of parents interviewed in Delhi find themselves to be confident in their role as teachers to children
  • Mumbai
Impact on school supplies 71 percent of parents and students in Mumbai felt the need to invest in electronic equipment to properly support the home learning environment – the maximum as compared to Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai
Challenges in managing child at home Parents in Mumbai came out at the top of the leader board for effectively managingwork, housework and time with children; had the least
Subjects they struggle with while teaching their child 53.9 percent of parents in Mumbai found Science to be the toughest subject to tackle at home while 35.3 percent of the parents found difficulty with History
  • Chennai
Activities the child engaged in 69.6 percent parents in Chennai found their children spending more time online or with devices, as compared to other cities
Child and teacher interaction 25.4 percent parents in Chennai felt that there was a decrease in the interaction time between their child and the teacher
Impact of Covid on child’s education 16.7 percent of parents in Chennai feel that their child is not enthusiastic about studying from home – the highest amongst all other cities
  • Kolkata
Time spent studying 26.4 percent of parents in Kolkata felt that their child gets more time to study post-Covid – a sentiment noted highly in Kolkata as compared to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai
Co-ordinating homeschooling with their partners Parents in Kolkata emerged most well-settled when coordinating homeschooling with their partners at 40.6 percent
Child functioning independently 40.6 percent of parents in Kolkata found their children being able to manage school work independently as compared to parents in Chennai

To learn more about how the India survey results compared to those in other regions about the world, visit:

Also read: Remote learning has brought students and teachers closer: Brainly survey

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