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Dubai: Education in the UAE doesn’t come cheap.

Parents in the country shell out nearly half a million dirhams in their lifetime just to ensure their child gets the full education they need.

According to a study released by HSBC, sending a child to school in UAE, from primary to university, will cost about $99,378 (Dh365,025), the second highest in the world. 

The cost covers tuition fees, educational books, transport and accommodation. The figure comes second only after after Hong Kong, where parents fork out an average of $132,161 to cover school costs.


The data, released by HSBC’s The Value of Education series this month, were based on the survey of more than 8,400 parents in 15 countries and territories.

Families from the surveyed countries spend an average of $44,221 on child’s education, much lower than the fees incurred by households in the UAE.

Education expenses are one of the biggest expenses of households worldwide. Nearly nine out of ten parents globally said they set aside their own income to cover the cost of their child’s current stage of education.

About 85 per cent are also paying for their child’s university or college costs.

Only a small portion of students cover their own expenses, with 15 per cent of those still in tertiary education saying that they contribute towards funding their own education, while 16 per cent get support from the government.

“In today's highly competitive global job market, education for young people has never been more important. Parents across the world appreciate this and are willing to invest time and money to help their children get the best start in life,” said Charlie Nunn, HSBC’s group head of wealth management.

“Their unwavering support shows in the personal, lifestyle and financial sacrifices they are making. From forfeiting 'me time' to giving up hobbies or reducing leisure activities, parents are going the extra mile to help their child succeed."

With school fees increasing every year, couples who don’t have a child yet can expect the expenses to go higher once they have a baby. While it makes sense for people planning to have kids to start saving up, many are not taking steps to ensure they have funds to dip into once their child goes to school.

“Many are not planning ahead by saving to meet the significant costs associated with their child’s continuing education,” the study said.

Parents who want their child to take up a two-year postgraduate degree in engineering can expect tuition fees to reach $26,400 in UAE, $21,000 in the United States and $19,700 in Australia.

The huge majority of parents (74 per cent) admitted that they resort to using a portion of their monthly income to pay for their child’s education.

In order to cope with rising costs, a number of parents make financial sacrifices, such as cutting back on leisure activities (40 per cent), working long hours (21 per cent), reducing their regular contributions for long-term savings or investments (20 per cent) and taking on a part-time or second job (18 per cent).

Average parental spend on their child's education (USD)

Global :   44,221

1.     Hong Kong: 132,161

2.     UAE: 99,378

3.     Singapore: 70,939

4.     USA: 58,464

5.     Taiwan: 56,424

6.     China: 42,892

7.     Australia: 36,402

8.     Malaysia: 25,479

9.     UK: 24,862

10.   Mexico: 22,812

11.   Canada: 22,602

12.   India: 18,909

13.   Indonesia: 18,422

14.   Egypt: 16,863

15.   France: 16,708