The high cost of education today is no secret, but which countries have the most expensive schools in the GCC? And how do we fare on the global stage? We do the maths to find out.
A new report by the International Schools Database reveals that – perhaps not surprisingly – Dubai ranks as the most expensive city in the Middle East, when it comes to the cost of international schools, with the average cost standing at $1,009 per month, according to the study.
In fact, the most expensive school in the UAE, not just Dubai, the North London Collegiate School, boasts fees ranging between Dh83,000 ($22,600) for pre-kindergarten to Dh130,000 ($35,400) for pupils entering Grades 11 and 12.
The study by the International Schools Database compared the cost of international schools in 32 cities around the world. Only cities with seven or more international schools were used in the report.
The report ranks Riyadh as the cheapest city in the GCC, followed by Abu Dhabi in terms of the cost of international schools.
The average cost of tuition at an international school in Riyadh is $411 per month, followed by Abu Dhabi at $722, and Doha at $752.
According to the Oxford Business Group, a 2015 report from Kuwait Finance Centre found that Bahrain’s private schools charged the lowest tuition fees of any country in the GCC; average school fees were $7,200 a year in Bahrain, compared to $8,300 a year in the next-most-affordable country, Qatar, and $10,250 a year in the UAE, the most expensive.
For the final year of school, it added, the difference was even more marked, with year-12 fees in Bahrain averaging $10,800, compared with $13,200 in Qatar and $18,200 in the UAE.
The study the International Schools Database also compared the cost of international schools as a percentage of rent.
Dubai was again the most expensive, accounting for nearly half (46 per cent) the cost of rent, followed by Riyadh (34 per cent), Abu Dhabi (27 per cent), and Doha (23 per cent).
Four most expensive cities in the Middle East for education
3- Abu Dhabi
But where does the Emirate Stands globally?
Dubai ranks in 14th place on the global list for the highest cost of tuition fees at international schools.
Globally, the most expensive city for international school fees is Shanghai, where the average cost of tuition fees is $2,783, accounting for 137 per cent of rent.
According to a study by CNN, Shanghai schools are number one.
It said that classrooms are packed with attentive and focused students, and meeting rooms filled with university-educated and highly-motivated teachers trading notes on how to better design their lessons.
Success of Chinese schools was revealed in 2009 in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the tri-annual survey of the world’s school systems, according to CNN.
Shanghai’s teenagers proved their math, science, and reading were much better than their peers in the United States, Germany, and Japan.
Shanghai was followed by Zurich ($2,057), Geneva ($1,863), Lausanne ($1,813), Seoul ($1,695) and Singapore ($1,637).
Cape Town, South Africa, is the cheapest city for international schools, costing $319 per month. However, when compared to the cost of rent, Copenhagen is the world’s cheapest, with tuition accounting for only 17 per cent of rent.
According to the Danish ministry of Education, schools have low tuition fees in Denmark because they are subsidized by the government.
“The bottom line is that private schools will be recognized and they will get government financing regardless of the ideological, religious, political or ethnic motivation behind their establishment,” it says.
Five most expensive countries for education