The trap of low fees long duration training

All of the government run vocational skill training programs are highly subsidized and therefore priced very low. Similarly, over a period of time, informal training programs too have followed the same approach – longer duration (6 month), lower fees (10-20k).

Sadly, these courses are so outdated that the students still need further training in house at companies that recruit them. The need of the hour is highly practical oriented (80-90% practical) short duration (2-3 weeks) courses, which prepare them for the needs of the industry.

Now the question comes to what is a fair price for these short duration courses? Because many of the ineffective informal courses too have taken the 6 month approach, many people tend to base their reasoning on a per week cost, and concluding at a totally unreasonable 2-3k for a 2-3 week course. In fact, these ineffective long courses have hidden costs – mainly opportunity costs.

Let’s compare two hypothetical courses- course A is 3 months long, and charges 12,000. Course B is 2 weeks long, and charges 15,000. Which is costlier, assuming both have similar job prospects, of earning 7,500 per month after the course, and are placed immediately after the course?

The real cost of course A is the course fees + 2.5 months of salary as opportunity cost = 12,000 + 18,750 = 30,750/- The real cost of course B is just the course fees at Rs 15,000, as one starts earning much earlier. Thus course B is cheaper by more than 50%, though on the face of it, it looks costlier!