There are two major categories of schools. These are private schools and boarding schools. Under the two classes are day schools, boarding schools, international schools, and schools for special needs children. The government owns public schools, and in most countries, children can attend public schools for free. Private schools are owned by individuals or a group of stakeholders. Private schools tend to cost more than public schools but are more affordable compared to international schools. So, where is the difference? Why do school fees differ across institutions?
- Recruitment of teachers
Most international schools hire ex-pat teachers to ensure they hire the most qualified and experienced teachers in the curriculum they offer. An international school in Malaysia can employ teachers from the UK, the US, or Canada. Keep in mind that the school has to offer a competitive salary that is close, if not more than what they are getting in their native country. Additionally, the school has to add allowances, such as housing and health insurance. This is the main reason why parents pay considerably more if they want their kids to attend an international school. For example, the Global Indian International school fees for kindergarten costs a little over $5000. The price increases as the child advances to another class.
- Type of school
Obviously, the government funds public schools, providing all the staff, food, running costs, and other educational material. That is why parents will pay little or nothing for their kids to go to a public school. Day schools are relatively cheaper than boarding schools because boarding schools are residential, so students go home at the end of every school term.
They require parents to buy beddings, including a mattress for their kids, books, sports gear, among other things needed for their kids to learn and have a comfortable stay in school. A parent will buy all the above material and still pay for tuition and additional costs such as caution money in case of any student-related damages. International schools, on the other hand, offer an international curriculum. Most of the time, such faculties have to import teachers and provide an attractive employment package for them to stay. Therefore, the high tuition fees are to pay the staff.
- Teacher to student ratio
Most private and international schools have a student to teacher ratio of 1:15. The ratio says a lot about how much individual attention your child will be getting in school. Also, the number of teachers determines the pastoral care level that children get in after school activities. Naturally, in any business, the more staff you employ, the more the wage bill. The same goes for schools. The more teachers and training staff they have to hire, the more it will cost the school, which directly affects the price.
- How old is the school?
Research has shown that new schools cost more than old schools. Think about when you are starting a business. You don’t have enough capital, so you take a loan to fund your startup. It doesn’t matter how fast or if your business picks up. Either way, you have to pay the bank what you owe. A new school is similar to a new business.
It can be comforting that your child is going to a new school because you are assured that they have the latest technology and state of the art equipment, but at what cost? Some old schools do a pretty good job of reinvesting in their business, such as upgrading and refurbishing their facilities so they can provide an excellent learning experience for your child. Also, schools that have been around for years have probably cleared their loans and are much more affordable.
- Student choices
International schools that are open to all nationalities offer an average of three curriculum choices for students. These include the British curriculum, American curriculum, or the International Baccalaureate. Different curriculums have different requirements in terms of student activities, learning materials, and subjects. Additionally, you might find that two schools offer the British curriculum (IGCSE), but they don’t provide the same number of IGCSEs. The devil is in the details, so be sure to ask questions like how many subjects the school’s curriculum offers. Keep in mind that the more choices a student has, the more expensive the school will be.
In most cases, you will find that the price you pay for your child’s education reflects the quality of education they will get. Although there are some excellent public schools, several studies have shown that private schools offer a better student experience. The tuition price is not so much the teachers’ quality but the learning and overall student experience that your child will get. So, if you can afford it, then you shouldn’t hesitate to offer your child the best possible education.