Effects of the associated problems of repetition and dropping out.
Indeed, whether we are considering education as a social or a private investment, allowance must be made for the fact that some students do not complete a course while others repeat parts of the course in order to gain a qualification. Ideally, separate cost-benefit calculations should be made for dropouts, repeaters and those who complete a course in the minimum time. For despite the implications of the word ‘wastage’, it is likely that even an uncompleted course may yield some economic benefits that must be compared with the costs of one or two years’ education. In fact, most countries do not have data that permit measurement of the benefits associated with part of a course. As a result, the simplest solution is to calculate the average length of courses,allowing for dropouts and repeaters, and to use this as the basis for the calculation of total costs rather than the minimum or ‘normal’ length of courses. This will give the total cost that must be borne by society in order to produce a qualified student, or the average cost to the individual after allowance for average rates of repetition and wastage (Woodhall, 2004: 33-34).
Woodhall, M. 2004. Cost-benefit analysis in educational planning. Fundamentals of Educational Planning 80. Paris: UNESCO-IIEP.