OCBC Life Goals

Are you financially prepared for your children’s future?
By the editors from The Edge
When it comes to children’s education, there are a myriad things parents need to consider during the formative years,which could well influence their tertiary education and careers eventually.

Apart from public schools, private and international schools have become an increasingly popular choice despite being costlier options. These schools are known for using different mediums of instruction and offer an extensive range of facilities. The size of the classes are also generally smaller than those in public schools.

Private schools have to follow the National Curriculum for primary and secondary education, as stipulated in the Education Act 1996.

The curricula of international schools, on the other hand, are not governed by the Education Act, but come under the supervision of the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The international curricula approved by the MOE are those used in Britain, Australia, America and Canada.

Many international schools offer preschool classes right up to external international examinations such as the IGCSE O levels, GCE A levels and International Baccalaureate Diploma, among others.

There are also other alternatives such as the Chinese independent schools, where the syllabus and textbooks are prepared by Dong Zhong.

Home schooling is also a growing trend, with the syllabus largely determined by the parents. However, after the Compulsory Education Act was implemented in 2003, prior permission must be obtained from the MOE.

While the best path to take continues to be debated, what is certain is that education fees will continue to increase.

Apart from the factors above, a key consideration will be the parents’ financial situation.
N/B: All the tuition fees per annum,
exclude miscellaneous cost
The cost of education means annual school fees of up to half-a-million ringgit!

On top of tuition fees, parents have to settle miscellaneous costs such as application fees, which could amount to over RM1,000, and school development fees, which can be as much as RM20,000. Apart from that, there are examination fees, technology fees and expenses for uniforms, bespoke international trips and extracurricular activities, among others.

And the cost is likely to continue to rise. According to Destination Education Malaysia,annual school fees for international schools may increase 5% to 10% every year. An International School Fee survey by ExpatFinder in 2017 found that tuition fees in the Asia-Pacific region saw the largest hike globally of 7% last year.

In a low to mid-tier international school, annual school fees can cost between RM3,000 and RM12,000 for the preschool level, and between RM30,000 and RM50,000 for the primary and secondary school levels. Schools fees at top tier international schools can go up to RM50,000 per year at the kindergarten level to RM100,000 per year for high school. If a childstudies in a top-tier international school from kindergarten all the way to grade 12, th cost could add up to more than RM1 million, according to some calculations.

International schools have become a popular choice for Malaysians since the quota on the enrolment of locals was abolished in 2012. Education DestinationMalaysia says the number of international schools rose from 108 in 2012 to 170 in 2017.

Private schools are a more affordable option than international schools, with tuition fees ranging from RM5,000 to over RM20,000 a year for the primary and secondary levels, according to the School Advisor portal. At preschool level, a top-tier private kindergarten using the Montessori method could cost close to RM30,000 per year, says the Private International School Fair website.

Many parents have chosen to send their children to private learning or home-schooling centres. Some of these follow international curricula, while the students may also choose to take national examinations as independent candidates. The cost of sending a child to such centres can range from RM400 to RM3,000 per month. The government has also warned parents to be cautious of centres that operate without a licence.

Meanwhile, other alternatives, such as private Chinese independent schools, could cost from RM3,500 to RM6,000 per year, with boarders having to fork out more, according to School Advisor.

Providing a good and well-rounded education for your children comes with a hefty price tag nowadays as the cost of living continues to trend upwards Although parents now have more choices, the cost of a high-quality education can only increase, particularly for competitive schools in urbanised areas. Parents need to plan wisely for the future and ensure they have enough resources to give their children the best education.