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New research reveals the cost of international education in Asia in 2021

Key points:

  • China is by far the most expensive country in Asia for international education. The top four most expensive cities in the whole continent are Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou.
  • Beijing is the most expensive city in Asia for international education (its median price is close to $40,000 per year).
  • Phnom Penh has the cheapest international school fees in Asia, at around $5,000 per year.
  • Manila, Johor Bahru and Phuket all have median prices for international education of around $8,000 - $9,000 per year.
  • Prices in Yangon, Bangkok, and Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe for international education all sit at around $12,000 per year.
  • In Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, median costs for international education are all around $17,000 per year.

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 around the world. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools all over the world.

Starting in 2019, we began using this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. For 2021 we have expanded this research and in this article, we share and analyze the prices of international schools in Asia in 2021.

Below, we have analysed price data from 23 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

For the third year in a row, China is by far the most expensive country in Asia for international education. The top four most expensive cities in the whole continent are Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Beijing’s median price is close to $40,000 per year, which is in sharp contrast to the cheapest city’s median price - Phnom Penh at around $5,000.

While China may dominate the top of the list, there is a very wide spread of prices throughout the rest of the continent. Median prices are under $20,000 per year for the majority of cities, and in many cities median prices hover under or just above $10,000 per year. Given the continent’s huge diversity in economic growth and costs of living, this makes sense.

Several cities, despite being in very different countries, have similar median prices. For example, Manila, Johor Bahru and Phuket all have median prices of around $8,000 - $9,000 per year. Prices in Yangon, Bangkok, and Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe all sit at around $12,000 per year. In Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, median costs for international education are all around $17,000 per year.

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 $11,569 $28,001 $38,183 $39,154 $41,409
2 Shanghai $5,325 $22,615 $31,668 $42,125 $44,886
3 Shenzhen $13,876 $22,537 $27,408 $34,863 $48,551
4 Guangzhou $10,990 $20,360 $23,022 $30,994 $50,117
5 Seoul $8,326 $19,236 $22,452 $26,806 $32,632
6 Singapore $5,288 $13,486 $21,108 $23,949 $38,297
7 Hanoi $3,708 $10,392 $18,386 $21,462 $28,315
8 Tokyo $5,362 $13,296 $17,358 $20,625 $26,021
9 Hong Kong $2,263 $14,888 $17,042 $22,282 $33,106
10 Ho Chi Minh City $5,117 $9,996 $16,697 $21,224 $27,383
11 Taipei $12,337 $14,090 $15,508 $18,967 $30,903
12 Jakarta $2,489 $9,159 $14,528 $20,132 $30,712
13 Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe $6,593 $8,987 $12,580 $14,317 $21,713
14 Bangkok $2,471 $7,783 $12,324 $17,872 $30,869
15 Yangon $7,010 $10,100 $11,735 $21,125 $24,700
16 Pattaya $3,562 $7,300 $11,116 $15,043 $18,083
17 Manila $2,532 $5,619 $8,722 $14,613 $20,711
18 Johor Bahru $3,133 $5,218 $8,536 $17,641 $20,243
19 Phuket $4,148 $5,201 $8,251 $10,467 $19,267
20 Chiang Mai $4,019 $6,677 $8,026 $9,187 $11,482
21 Penang $3,470 $4,989 $6,037 $6,365 $7,519
22 Kuala Lumpur $1,967 $4,139 $5,432 $9,272 $22,394
23 Phnom Penh $2,100 $3,846 $5,070 $7,554 $19,941

source: www.international-schools-database.com

How to read the graph

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: