How Expensive Are International Schools In Malaysia?

enroll in international school

Did you know? In the last five years, the international schools’ market in Malaysia has nearly doubled.

This is despite the fact that fees in international schools can reach up to over RM100,000 each year.

If you include private preschool, primary and pre-unversity establishments, there are over 180 international schools just in Malaysia! While many of the students enrolled in these schools are from expatriate families, a growing percentage of enrolment in these schools are made up of Malaysian students these days.

Parents being parents will always want the best for their children. So, if international school education is a move you are considering, these 5 tips can help give you start your preparations.

1) How much does it really cost?

We already know that tuition fees at these institutions are no joke and parents can expect to fork out up to RM100,000 per year or more(depending on the school and the location) just to put their child through primary or secondary education at an international school.

So if you do decide that international school education is the best choice for your child, you must be willing and able to take on a significant expense for a good number of years without compromising your other financial goals, such as retirement.

Remember, just like everything else, fees for private and international schools increases through the years. You might even have to make sacrifices, such as moving to a smaller home or not going on as many vacations, although for an increasing number of Malaysian parents, these sacrifices are well worth it if it means being able to afford higher quality education for their kids.

According to a report provided by the Ministry of Education in 2019, there are 84,079 students enrolled in schools classified as ‘expatriate’ and ‘international’ in Malaysia.

2) Start planning early

For many parents, international school education is a huge commitment and a massive expense, so it goes without saying that the sooner you start planning, the better.

For instance, most international schools charge a one-time registration that could cost parents an additional RM25,000 or more, and this is an amount you will likely need to fork out upfront.

Also, it is not uncommon of 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, possibly even as soon as he or she is born.

3) Consider the extras 

Paying for an international school education entails so much more than just tuition fees.

For starters, you will need to get school uniforms for your child, and these will often have to be specially tailored or can only be purchased with the school.

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

4) Think about future children

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

To avoid winding up in this scenario, proper family planning and budgeting is important 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, from aspects ranging from daily expenses to planning for their university education, so you can be financially prepared.

5) Compare discount rates

We already know that international school education costs a bomb, which makes it even more important for parents to find ways to save a few bucks on school fees. 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 these schools.

Some international schools offer “siblings or family discount” rates.  With the discount, families enrolling more than two children in these schools will receive a 5% discount on tuition fees for the second sibling, and 10% for the third sibling.

You may be able to score additional discounts for early registration or take advantage of discounts offered  for enrolment during international school fairs.

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

While attending an international school can give your child a kick start in life, it doesn’t guarantee a successful life.

One way that you can manage your fund  better is to consider transitioning your child to an international school later, such as in their high school years so you do not have to spend as much. Sending your child for tuition classes is another good alternative that will not break your bank.

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.

This article was first published on May 24, 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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