Expats are facing higher school fees if they want a place at the best international schools for their children.
The latest figures show fees have jumped 2% for the current school year to an average $15,363.
The cost of education plays a major part in working out pay and benefits for expats.
According to research by expat benefits consultancy ECA International, more than eight out of 10 companies contribute to schooling, while six out of 10 will include payments for pre-school childcare.
Finding the right school offering internationally recognised qualifications is a headache for many expats.
Expat families want their children to pass exams that will benefit them in later life, but only the most expensive schools can provide this service.
China’s top of the class
The most expensive education is in China, where schools have fierce competition for places.
ECA says schools are charging $39,580 for secondary education.
The trend is spilling over to other countries where locals are willing to buy an excellent education that gives qualifications recognised in the US and Europe.
The top 10 most expensive countries for schooling contains some surprises –
Behind China comes Angola, with Mongolia in fifth place and Nigeria in ninth and Argentina tenth.
The study explains schooling is cheaper, but the high cost of security in these countries inflates the cost. They also have fewer good schools and a rising demand from large expat populations.
All the top 10 countries have fees of more than $30,000.
Watch out for extra costs
The USA, Belgium, Switzerland, France and the UK make up the rest of the top 10.
“In most cases, the cost increases mentioned above are doubly felt as the child moves through the school system. This is because the practice of most international schools is to build in a fee increment dependent on the age of the child. For example, when a child moves from Year 6 to Year 7 they will be subject to the higher fees for that year group in addition to the annual price increase,” says the report.
The cheapest places for expat schooling are Burundi, where fees are around $3,210; the Seychelles ($5,000) and Iraq ($5,100).
The report also warns extra fees add to education costs for expats.
These include registration, travel, exam fees, board, uniforms, books and equipment.