Singaporeans spend twice the global average on children’s local education

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SINGAPORE — Parents in Singapore spend on average US$70,939 (S$96,196) a year for their children’s local education, almost double the global average of US$44,221, according to a report by HSBC.

Of the over 8,400 parents in 15 countries and territories surveyed, parents in Singapore rank third globally in the amount spent on their children’s local education costs. This includes school and university tuition fees, educational books, transport and accommodation – covering primary, secondary and tertiary education, up to the undergraduate level.

Only Hong Kong (US$132,161) and the United Arab Emirates (US$99,378) outstrip the Republic in terms of annual spending on children’s local education. In China, parents spend an average of US$42,892 annually, while parents in Malaysia fork out an average of US$25,479 and in Indonesia the amount is even lower at US$18,422.

The HSBC report represents the views of 500 parents in Singapore and is part of the bank’s Value of Education series. The average yearly amount spent by parents on each stage of education in each country was multiplied by the typical length of each educational stage in that country, to derive the total amount spent on a child’s education.

The exchange rates used are based on the NZForex 2016 average yearly rate.

Singaporeans are going the extra mile to ensure their children have a good start in life, show the survey findings. Some 82 per cent of parents said they are paying for private tuition or have done so in the past, and four out of five parents have started making plans for their child’s education even before the child begins primary school at age seven years.

Overall, parents here say they spend US$72,522 a year if their children are enrolled in private education, and US$66,075 if their children’s education is through the state-funded system. When broken down, the average of US$70,939 is allocated accordingly: US$16,866 for primary education, US$28,504 for secondary education, and US$25,569 for tertiary education.

Parents in Singapore have high aspirations for their children, according to the report. Almost half would consider an overseas university education for their children, with Australia being the top favoured destination. Parents surveyed said they were more likely to consider a postgraduate education (40 per cent) than an undergraduate education (34 per cent) abroad.

Mr Anurag Mathur, head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank (Singapore) said: “In today’s highly competitive global job market, education has never been more important. Singaporean millennials parents are investing both their time and money to help their children get the best start in life and for many that means an overseas education.”

Nearly all (98 per cent) of parents here said they would consider a university education for their child, with 83 per cent of parents saying that a postgraduate degree is an important gateway for their child to get into full-time employment in their chosen occupation, said the report.

Business, Management and Finance (16 per cent) is parents’ most preferred university course for their child to study, with Medicine (11 per cent), Engineering (9 per cent), Law (7 per cent) and Computer and Information Sciences (7 per cent) making up the top five most favoured courses.

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