Dubai: The cost facing UAE-based parents for educating one child from preschool to university has been estimated, for the second year in a row, at close to Dh1 million.
Zurich – Middle East, which also estimated the cost last year, on Wednesday put the figure at Dh938,599 — around 0.5 per cent higher than last year.
The figure is based on the total cost of education of two years at preschool, six years at primary school, six years at secondary school and three years at a UK university.
In the UAE, pre, primary and secondary school costs add up to an average of Dh528,486 per child, a slight increase on last year’s figures. These costs exclude other expenses such as books, trips and uniforms, which could increase by up to 40 per cent for top-tier schools.
Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich – Middle East, said, “When it comes to education — as this research shows — it is important to start planning early to ensure enough capital is available when your child is ready to start university. Adopting a long-term approach to savings could help fund the best education for your child without worrying about the cost.” The research also shows that “parents would do anything to fund their child’s education, including sacrificing their retirement fund and other lifetime goals to pay for tuition fees”.
Its data suggests two in three parents (64 per cent) would be willing to get into debt to fund their children’s university or college education. Despite the high costs, 70 per cent of parents are funding their child’s university education from day-to-day income. Also, 41 per cent of them think that funding their child’s education is more important than contributing to their own retirement savings.
Building on the insight, Zurich – Middle East spoke with a number of UAE students to find out what professions they would like to pursue, and the costs of associated university courses in the UK and the US. Top five professions included medicine, computer science, business and management, finance and accounting, and engineering.
Parents in the UAE are the world’s biggest spenders on their children’s university studies, paying $18,360 (around Dh67,439) annually on average, according to The Value of Education: Foundations for the Future report by HSBC bank last August. The figure represents a 140 per cent higher spending against the global average of $7,631 (around Dh28,029) per year.
According to a separate study by the Institute of International Education, students studying in universities within the UAE spend $13,827 (Dh50,788) per year on average.
Box: Education costs per child
Dh938,599: Preschool to university
Dh528,486: Total pre, primary and secondary school costs
64% of parents willing to get into debt to fund their child’s university study
70% of parents funding child’s university education from day-to-day income
41% say funding child’s education more important than contributing to own retirement savings