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New research reveals the cost of international education in Asia in 2022

Key points:

  • China is the most expensive country in Asia for international education. 4 Chinese cities are included in the top 10 most expensive locations in the continent.
  • The Malaysian city of Ipoh – Perak is the least expensive destination in Asia when it comes to international school costs.
  • The majority of Asian cities in our analysis have median prices of under $15,000 per year, making it relatively affordable (China excluded) compared to other regions.
  • Malaysia and Thailand are among the least expensive countries in Asia for international schools, with 7 of the 10 least expensive cities located here.
  • Bali is included in our research for the first time, and is the 5th cheapest destination in Asia regarding international education.

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.

Starting in 2019, we began using 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 updated to 2022.

Below, we have analysed price data from 24 cities in 13 Asian countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us as of Dec 31st 2022, 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 and here can be found the results of the previous year 2021.

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

Similar to last year, China continues to dominate as the most expensive country in Asia for international schools. The top 4 most expensive cities are all located in China – Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. This order also remains the same since last year, however, median prices have increased in all four cities (although only slightly in Shenzhen).

Ipoh – Perak, in Malaysia, is a new city included in our research this year and has taken the title of the least expensive location in Asia for international schooling. Following it is Phnom Penh, which was 2021’s least expensive city. Prices in Ipoh – Perak range from $2,316 to $3,065 per year, which is a stark contrast to Asia’s most expensive city, Beijing. Prices in this Chinese metropolis range from above $10,000 to almost $40,000 per year.

Despite the high prices seen in China, elsewhere in Asia median prices are more affordable than you may think. Of the 24 cities included in our analysis of Asia, 14 had median prices of under $15,000 per year. These were Taipei, Yangon, Bangkok, Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Manila, Johor Bahru, Bali, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh and Ipoh – Perak.

Malaysia and Thailand are the most affordable countries in Asia when it comes to the cost of international education. 3 Thai cities (Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket) and 4 Malaysian cities (Johor Bahru, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh – Perak) are included in the 10 least expensive locations in the continent. Other countries include Indonesia (Bali), Philippines (Manila), and Cambodia (Phnom Penh).

This year we have added Bali to our analysis for the first time, and it is the 5th least expensive destination overall in Asia. This should be good news for many people, since the Indonesian island is becoming increasingly popular as an expat destination. If you didn’t already have enough reasons to consider a move to Bali, you can now add reasonably priced international schools to the list.

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 $10,397 $30,444 $36,243 $37,838 $39,261
2 Shanghai $4,929 $24,065 $34,126 $41,462 $45,550
3 Shenzhen $12,844 $22,440 $27,255 $34,148 $46,057
4 Guangzhou $10,173 $17,252 $26,385 $30,444 $46,391
5 Singapore $5,321 $13,800 $21,386 $24,505 $38,531
6 Seoul $5,242 $16,525 $21,352 $25,185 $32,301
7 Hanoi $5,183 $16,207 $19,505 $22,302 $28,820
8 Hong Kong $2,253 $15,243 $17,561 $22,972 $34,723
9 Ho Chi Minh City $4,784 $9,962 $16,078 $21,388 $25,344
10 Tokyo $4,652 $10,472 $15,254 $18,228 $23,109
11 Taipei $11,512 $12,853 $14,757 $17,529 $30,244
12 Yangon $7,010 $10,100 $13,263 $15,875 $27,170
13 Bangkok $2,539 $8,419 $12,363 $16,981 $25,968
14 Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe $5,720 $8,041 $11,196 $12,625 $19,220
15 Pattaya $3,427 $7,707 $10,802 $15,153 $17,756
16 Chiang Mai $3,866 $6,806 $8,495 $9,348 $11,047
17 Phuket $4,390 $6,231 $8,239 $9,637 $18,363
18 Manila $2,181 $6,638 $8,154 $15,540 $21,051
19 Johor Bahru $2,951 $6,334 $6,629 $15,391 $19,750
20 Bali $2,664 $4,860 $5,890 $9,467 $13,757
21 Penang $3,950 $4,849 $5,768 $6,143 $7,083
22 Kuala Lumpur $1,809 $4,081 $5,016 $8,265 $22,020
23 Phnom Penh $2,400 $3,703 $4,908 $7,902 $20,340
24 Ipoh - Perak $2,316 $2,401 $2,632 $2,779 $3,065

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: