New research reveals the cost of international education in Asia

Key points:

  • The most expensive schools worldwide can be found in Asia, particularly in China.
  • Beijing and Shanghai are the top two most expensive cities for international schools in the world.
  • Phnom Penh, Kuala Lumpur and Phuket offer the cheapest international school prices in Asia.

At the International Schools Database, we help local and expat parents choose the perfect international school for their children. Our database allows parents to find, research and compare international schools in cities across four continents. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools all over the world.

Our latest research project uses this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. In this article, we share and analyze the prices of international schools in Asia.

Below, we have analysed price data from 19 cities in 13 Asian countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city, because they do not make their price data available or it is unknown to us. Links to additional research focusing in each of the other regions individually and globally can be found at the bottom of this article.

Prices of International Schools in Asia, Per Year

The graph below is known as a box plot graph. It shows a comprehensive view of the range of prices in each city, instead of just an average, as a single average price may not necessarily represent the full picture of prices in each destination. Since there is a lot to unpack in this graph, we have also provided a little explanation on how to read the graph easily at the end of the article.

How to read this graph

Highlights and takeaways from the research findings

The first thing that immediately stands out from our data is Chinese prices. China is home to the top three most expensive cities for international schooling in Asia - Beijing’s prices start at over $8,000 per year, Shanghai at just under $5,000 and Shenzhen at over $11,000. Prices finish at $41,000, $39,000 and $32,000 respectively.

The fourth Chinese city in the list, Guanghzhou, also makes it into the top 10 most expensive cities in the world with a range of $11,231 to $29,818 per year.

However, comparatively affordable options can still be found in Asia. Out of the 19 cities included in our research, 10 of them have starting prices of $5,000 per year or less; Hanoi, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Singapore, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta and Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh is in fact the most affordable city in Asia for international education, and the only city with a minimum price of under $2,000.

Bangkok and Jakarta, despite being in different countries, have remarkably similar prices. In Jakarta school prices range from $2,339 to $30,075, while in Bangkok, the range is only slightly higher with a minimum of $2,516 and a maximum of $31,125.

You can find a breakdown of exact prices for each Asian city in the table below. But if Asia isn’t enough, we have also compiled price data for other regions and cities around the world; you can find links to this additional research at the bottom of this article. If you require any further information or have additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us at andrea@international-schools-database.com.

Prices of International Schools Per Year

Rank City Minimum Q1 Median Q3 Maximum
1 Beijing $8,097 $22,730 $31,253 $34,094 $41,389
2 Shanghai $4,830 $19,036 $30,046 $37,711 $38,853
3 Shenzhen $11,365 $20,350 $24,577 $29,456 $31,679
4 Seoul $8,008 $18,175 $21,475 $25,637 $30,887
5 Singapore $4,406 $14,402 $20,910 $23,817 $37,859
6 Guangzhou $11,231 $13,780 $20,741 $24,762 $29,818
7 Tokyo $5,615 $13,324 $18,101 $21,263 $25,773
8 Hanoi $4,905 $5,751 $17,171 $19,441 $27,340
9 Hong Kong $10,543 $14,798 $16,207 $21,533 $31,424
10 Ho Chi Minh City $4,560 $9,389 $15,662 $19,353 $24,836
11 Yangon $7,010 $10,400 $15,500 $24,250 $28,000
12 Bangkok $2,516 $8,699 $14,336 $19,918 $31,125
13 Taipei $5,560 $13,181 $13,487 $16,223 $26,148
14 Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe $4,878 $8,560 $13,172 $15,326 $48,575
15 Jakarta $2,339 $7,384 $11,466 $18,779 $30,075
16 Manila $2,347 $5,246 $9,901 $15,476 $20,278
17 Phuket $5,563 $7,169 $8,515 $11,009 $20,397
18 Kuala Lumpur $2,446 $4,083 $5,898 $8,687 $22,273
19 Phnom Penh $1,840 $3,387 $4,825 $7,050 $19,941

source: www.international-schools-database.com

How to read the graph

Boxplot explanation

The purple box shows the middle portion of the data, known in statistical lingo as the Interquartile Range. This is the ‘ballpark’ range that you would usually expect to pay in that particular city. The horizontal lines at each end of the box represent the First Quartile (Q1) and Third Quartile (Q3). These are the prices that would be considered somewhat cheaper (for Q1) or more expensive (for Q3) than the norm.

The median is shown as a vertical bar in the centre of the box. This is the price of the school in the exact middle of the range, i.e. the half-way point. Finally, you’ll see dots next to some of the box plots. These are ‘outliers’, prices that sit outside of all of the above ranges.

⇧ Go back to the graph ⇧

Additional research for other regions: