international schools
Insights from a new international schools report. Source: Shutterstock

A good international school is supposed to tick a diverse set of criteria, from strategies that support students’ pathways to continued/university education to robust co-curricular activities to college preparation – and these should all be superior to what public institutions are offering.

The price tag for this today? Up to £33,233, according to new data from global mobility specialist, ECA International (ECA).

These are the top 10 most expensive locations for international school fees in the world today, taken from ECA’s Education Report:

Rank Country Average annual school fees (£)
1 China 33,233
2 US 32,284
3 Belgium 31,331
4 Mongolia 30,956
5 France 29,706
6 Switzerland 29,277
7 Angola 27,883
8 United Kingdom 27,316
9 Israel 26,376
10 Nigeria 25,506

The location with the highest annual international school fees was China, followed by the US and Belgium.

With a whopping average of £33,233 charged for annual school feels in China, international education here comes at a steep price.

Myanmar, despite being one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, saw the biggest increase in school fees compared to all Asian locations, increasing by £2,289 to £18,520 per year. Other countries in the sub-region also saw a significant rise in school fees, increasing by an average of £3,038: Thailand (£21,753), Indonesia (£22,500) and Vietnam (£22,323).

The most expensive location in Europe for international schooling is Belgium, which costs an average of £31,331 per year. However, it was Russia that saw the biggest spike in school fees, increasing £2,289 to £19,534 per year.

international schools

What price do parents pay for high-quality international schools? Source: Shutterstock

Production Manager at ECA International, Steven Kilfedder said: “Worsening relationships between Russia and Europe have led to many European teachers in international schools being denied visas. This has led to closures of international schools, including the renowned Anglo-American School in St. Petersburg. This lower supply of schools has led to an increase in fees as demand for places at the remaining schools grows.”

The global mobility specialist also found that a single year at a UK-based international school will set parents back £27,316 on average, an increase of £1,068 from 2018.

“The continued high demand for places at international schools in the UK, coupled with rising costs for many international schools in the UK as the need for experienced English teachers continues to rise, means that international school fees have once more risen faster than inflation and are now firmly among the most expensive in the world,” explined Steven Kilfedder.

Fees in Israel have increased to £26,376 on average per year, making it the most expensive location in the Middle East for international schooling.

“The primary reason for the increase in school fees for international schools in Israel is the strong recent performance of the Israeli shekel. As the currency continues to increase in value, overseas families living in Israel will see the price of school fees increase in relation to their home currency,” Kilfedder adds.

With international school locations such as Israel, Nigeria and Mongolia – countries in lower-income brackets compared to the Eurozone – parents may be wondering the former now charge higher fees compared to the latter.

For Kilfedder, this partly relates to the Euro performing relatively poorly against the US dollar over the last year.

“Good news for overseas parents who will see school fees in Europe stay cheaper in their home currency. But this has pushed many European locations down our global rankings,” he says.

(£1 ≈ US$1.29 at the time of writing)

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