Expat Families:Thoughts to Consider
For parents and expat families, taking the decision to emigrate is not always easy, especially if your children are of (or approaching) school age. For many prospective expat families looking for a new life overseas, the education system is near the top of the list of things to consider.
However, in most cases expats have to pay for their children to be taught at international schools, especially if English is not the main language spoken in the place you choose for your new home. One major consideration is, therefore, the cost of schools. We’ve compiled a brief list of some of the most and least expensive places in the world to educate your children.
Finland – Free
Finland offers children’s schooling free of charge.Every child is expected to attend school from the age of seven.The Finnish education system is envied the world over.approximately 5% of children attending schools in Finland,have a native language other than Finnish.Whilst children grasp the basics of a new language remarkably easy,,the Finnish schools believe that all children regardless of language will leave school able to either pursue higher education or move in to a career
Young children from other countries like expat families new to Finland,are given extra tuition in their native language along with Finnish language lessons.There are several school models to choose from with English,German,French,Russian and Swedish schools to choose from.The Finnish schools will try to accommodate many other languages from varied cultures such as Somalia.Study overseas need not be expensive and your children’s schooling from primary school to higher education
Switzerland – most expensive
At the top of the school cost chart is Switzerland, where parents can expect to pay an average of £16,612 per year in fees, according to research conducted by Lloyds TSB. Do bear in mind, however, that some cities in the country offer cheaper schooling than others.
For instance, in Geneva average costs stand at £14,810 annually, while at the other end of the spectrum, you could be paying £19,889 for schooling in Lausanne. Of course, you do have to balance cost with quality and Switzerland is regarded as a “top-performing country” in terms of education by the OECD. In its Better Life Index, the organisation highlighted the fact that 87 per cent of adults aged between 25 and 64 hold the equivalent of a high school degree.
Australia – also pricey for Expat Families
Escaping down under is a dream for many people in the UK, but one thing expat families certainly need to account for is the cost of education here. Lloyds TSB reveals that average school fees in the nation stand at £14,483, although, as with Switzerland, this can vary considerably depending on where you’re based.
For instance, it costs about £3,000 per year more to send your child to school in Melbourne than in Sydney or Perth. Again, OECD data does show you get what you pay for, though, with Australia performing slightly better than Switzerland in terms of its education system.
South Africa – least expensive
Looking now at the other end of the scale, we come to South Africa, which, according to Lloyds TSB, is among the cheapest countries for the expat families education. The average school fees here stand at £5,197, although this is slightly thrown out by the expensive cost of schooling in Pretoria (£11,130). By contrast, in Durban you’ll pay as little as £2,688 annually.
As you can probably imagine, quality also varies. There have been issues highlighted by international organisations (like UNICEF) on the standard of education provided by the state. For private establishments, things work slightly differently. Concerned parents should try to enrol their children in a school that is a member of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA).
The ISASA is a voluntary scheme but all the schools that are accepted as members are assessed both when they join the body and every six years afterwards
Spain – more affordable for expat families
The last country on our list is Spain, where the average cost of schooling per year comes in at £6,834. Within the country, large cities like Madrid charge the highest fees (typically around £8,633 annually), with destinations on the Costa del Sol considerably cheaper at £5,621.
Within Spain‘s education system, only 52 per cent of people aged 25 to 64 have the equivalent of a high school degree, according to the OECD, well below its average of 74 per cent. In addition, the pupils who completed the organisation’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) scored just below the OECD average for reading literacy, maths and science.
If you’ve successfully emigrated with your family, let us know what experiences you’ve had with enrolling your children in international schools.Expat families are more than welcome to share their experiences