School Guide

5 Things to Consider Before Sending Your Child to an International School

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Apr 12, 2018, 11:45 AM

One of the biggest dilemmas faced by parents is choosing the right education path for their children. In Malaysia, there are mainly two options a parent can consider: a public route or an international one.

With all the uncertainty surrounding the public education system, who can blame parents for thinking of an international education for their children? From the flip-flops on deciding whether to retain Mathematics and Science subjects in English to the controversial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) score, many parents have promptly opted for a more stable and established education system.

If international education is a move you are considering, here are a few things you need to know.

1. Know the cost of an international education

One thing's for sure: tuition at these institutions are not going to be cheap. If you are considering enrolling your child in an international school, you must be willing and be able to take on a significant expense for a good number of years without comprising your other financial goals such as retirement.

Just like everything else lately, private and international school fees will increase through the years. According to a report by iMoney, a parent who sends her three children to an international school stated that school fees have been increasing since 2015, and is expecting a yearly increment of between 5% and 10%.

Parents must also be willing be make sacrifices such as moving to a smaller home and fewer vacations and trips to pricey restaurants. However, for a number of Malaysian parents these sacrifices are worth it, especially if it means a bright and promising future for their children.

2. Plan ahead of time

An international education is a massive long-term commitment, and so the sooner you start planning, the better it will be.

For instance, admission to an international school alone could cost parents an additional RM50,000 and above for miscellaneous charges, which include application, assessment and registration fees. This is likely an amount that you will have to fork out upfront.

Also, it is not uncommon for schools to require some form of financial commitment such as an acceptance deposit, so it will be wise to start planning from as early as possible; perhaps even as soon as your child is born.

3. Consider the extras

Paying for an international school education entails much more than just tuition. For starters, you will need to buy school uniforms for your child. Often, these will have to be tailored or can only be purchased at the school.

You will also need to consider sports fees, school trips, enrichment classes and extracurricular activities that will likely cost several times more than it would in public schools.

4. Think about the other children you may have

Some parents are quick to make the decision to send their first child to an international school, and when child number two and number three come, suddenly they are stuck.

To avoid winding up in this scenario, proper family planning and budgeting is imperative so you don't find yourself in a tight spot in the future.

With the rising cost of living, it is never too early to start budgeting for your child in aspects ranging from daily expenses to planning for their university education so that you can be financially prepared.

5. Compare discount rates

We already know that an international school education costs a bomb, which makes it all the more important for parents to find ways to save on school fees wherever they can. To this end, parents will first have to do some digging around to find and compare the special rates and discounts that are being offered by international schools.

For example, Alice Smith School and International School of Kuala Lumpur offer sibling discounts for families enrolling two or more children.

Finally, remember to not overextend yourself if you simply cannot afford to put your child through an international education without going into debt or compromising other financial goals.

While attending an international school can give your child a kickstart in life, it is not the be-all and end-all.

One way that you can better manage your funds is to consider transitioning your child to an international school later in their education journey, such as in their high school years so you do not have to spend as much.

Whatever your options, make sure you pick one that is both practical and sustainable for you and your child(ren) in the larger scheme of things.

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