international schools
Beijing, Shanghai and Zurich are just some of the most expensive cities for international schools. Source: Shutterstock

China is home to two cities with the world’s most expensive international schools, with Beijing and Shanghai ranked first and second respectively, according to data from the International Schools Database

Despite that, there are huge differences between the cheapest and most expensive international schools per year in the country, which might enhance their allure for parents with varied income levels. 

In Beijing alone, there is more than a US$33,000 difference between the cheapest and most expensive schools, while the minimum and maximum price in Shanghai is US$4,830 and US$38,853 respectively. 

Meanwhile, the figure in Shenzhen – a city that neighbours Hong Kong – is US$11,365 and US$31,679 respectively.

Prices of international schools per year

1 Beijing  US$8,097 US$31,253 US$41,389
2 Shanghai US$4,830 US$30,046 US$38,853
3 Zurich US$8,052 US$25,630 US$31,406
4 Shenzhen US$11,365 US$24,577 US$31,679
5 Lausanne – Vaud US$14,840 US$24,296 US$35,296
6 Geneva US$14,840 US$23,414 US$28,006
7 Toronto US$12,489 US$21,979 US$25,283
8 Seoul US$8,008 US$21,475 US$30,887
9 Singapore US$4,406 US$20,910 US$37,859
10 Guangzhou US$11,231 US$20,741 US$29,818
Source: International Schools Database

Cheapest cities in the world for international schools

International Schools Database notes that some of the cheapest minimum prices in the world for an international school education is in Africa, while the Middle East is also home to several affordable schools.

Their research found that Kampala – Uganda’s capital – is home to the least expensive school worldwide, at just US$523 per year. 

Meanwhile, minimum prices of international schools in Manama, Bahrain, is US$1,003 per year, US$1,046 for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; US$1,085 and US$2,181 for Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa.

Apart from Manama, four other cities in the Middle East with the cheapest fees per year include: Kuwait City (Kuwait) at US$1,241, Doha (Qatar) at US$1,250, Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) at US$1,675, and Dubai (United Arab Emirates) at US$2,317.

However, in the Middle East in particular, researchers note that there is a big range of prices in all cities due to the high numbers of international schools available. 

“So while their minimum prices may seem cheap, their maximum prices could be considered quite high, which in turn raises the average prices,” they said.

Some cities in Europe can also offer relatively good affordability. 

In Spain, parents can expect to pay a maximum of US$15,095 per year in Madrid, while in Málaga, the maximum price drops to US$10,471 – the cheapest on the continent by a significant margin, and the second cheapest maximum price in the world, according to researchers.

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