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.
Related: Difference Between Public and Private Schools
Before making the long-term decision of enrolling your child in an international school, here are a few things to be apprised of.
1. Know the cost of an international education
One thing is 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 compromising your other financial goals and commitments such as retirement. Striving to accomplish all goals and undertakings should be the ideal goal instead.
Similar to many other financial costs in life, private and international school fees will see a spike in numbers in coming 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%.
Despite having mentioned the ideal financial situation above, there are times where sacrifices must be given their dues. These sacrifices can entail anything from 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.
Related: Choosing a School on a Budget
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.
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, hence presenting a greater need to enrol in a school with lower fees or readily available discounted rates.
See also: International Schools With Tuition Fees Below RM 17,000
See also: Sports You Can Find In International Schools
When it comes to choosing the best education out there, most parents act on impulse and make the decision to send their first child to an international school, and undoubtedly, this can cause a state of upheaval to the financial and emotional wellbeing of the parents.
To avoid winding up in this scenario, proper family planning and budgeting is imperative, so you do not 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.
Related: Planning Finances For the Education of Your Future Children
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, the 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.
Related Article: 10 Things To Know About International Schools in Malaysia