Fees at international schools in Asia record highest increase globally - survey
The cost of an international school education in China is highest in Asia. Pic: Shutterstock.

A new global survey has found that fees at international schools in Asia are up by 7 percent, over three time the global average of 2 percent, a result researchers expected given the rise in living costs worldwide and increased worker mobility.

It now costs US$14,150 per annum for an international school education in Asia. The region also recorded the biggest increase in fees compared to other continents.

“The rising cost of international education is exacerbated by increased demand from wealthy or even middle-class families of emerging nations in Asia and the Middle East who want a grounding in international curricula – International Baccalaureate or an American High School Diploma – for their children,” CEO and ExpatFinder.com co-founder Sebastien Deschamps said.

Country-wise, Switzerland is the most expensive in the world to send a child to an international school, with fees of US$29,711 per annum. China is 3rd most costly in the world and the most expensive in Asia – parents can expect to pay US$25,820 per annum for their child’s international school education here.

Education at an international school in Singapore can be very costly. Pic: Shutterstock.

Affluent Singapore follows China as 4th globally and 2nd in Asia, with fees at US$23,198 per annum.

When adjusted relative to cost of living, the top three most expensive countries for an international school experience are shown to be all in Asia – Kazakhstan (US$59,433 per annum, adjusted), China (US$57,616 per annum, adjusted) and Vietnam (US$41,619 per annum, adjusted).

Four of the world’s five most expensive schools are within the region (between US$161,156 and US$91,198 per annum, adjusted).

But one rich Asian economy appears to have bucked this global upward trend – Hong Kong.

In the island nation, the median annual costs dropped from US$23,360 last year to US$18,465, a finding that education providers in the city are skeptical of.

“In Hong Kong, our fees are going up and up from 6 to 10 percent per year,” Ruth Benny, founder of Hong Kong education consultancy Top Schools told South China Morning Post.

“The newer schools are very much more expensive than what a lot of people can actually afford … [They are] looking for the best teachers and best heads of school, so they’re offering the best [pay] packages and that pushes the market up.”

ExpatFinder.com explained the city state’s change in position in the survey to be due to the larger sample size of schools this year, compared to the last.

“This year’s international school fees survey has more than doubled the number of schools evaluated from last year, and this has had quite an effect on the rankings,” he said.

“Also, some of the schools which we had data for last year have not participated this year, making direct comparisons tricky.”

Local families compete with expat children for places in international schools in Hong Kong. Pic: Shutterstock.

Last year, the expatriate products and services website surveyed 707 international schools in 98 countries. This year, the sample size widened to 1,576 international schools across 117 countries.

Meanwhile, occupying the bottom three rungs in terms of yearly international school fees in Asia are Laos (US5,418), India (US4,061) and Vanuatu (US2,507).

The cheapest school for expats to send their children to in Asia is Motilal Nehru School of Sports in Chandigarh, India, which charges a median yearly fee of US$456.

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