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New research reveals the cost of international education in Asia in 2023

Key points:

  • China continues to dominate as Asia’s most expensive country for international school prices, with the 4 most expensive cities in the continent all located in China.
  • The cost of international schools in Japan is significantly cheaper than other economic hubs in Asia such as China, Singapore and South Korea.
  • Malaysia continues to have the least expensive international school prices. Three Malaysian cities (Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh - Perak) are among the cheapest included in our research, with Ipoh - Perak the cheapest in Asia overall.
  • In general Asia has a staggering range of international school costs, representing the various stages of economic development across the continent.

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 2023.

Below, we have analysed price data from 24 cities in 14 Asian countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us as of Dec 31st 2023, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city. This is because do not make their price data available or because it is unknown to us. Links to additional research focusing on each world region individually and globally can be found at the bottom of this article and here can be found the results of the previous year 2022.

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. 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

Since our research began, China has always been the most expensive country in Asia for international school prices. It has also been among the most expensive countries in the world, and neither of those things have changed in 2023. Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou are the top 4 most expensive cities in Asia, with median prices of $36,799, $33,777, $26,608, and $25,759 per year respectively.

It may have one of the wealthiest economies in Asia, but the cost of international schooling in Japan falls significantly lower than other economic powerhouses on the continent such as China, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea. Tokyo ranks just as the 10th most expensive city in Asia with a median price of $15,537 per year, and Kyoto-Osaka-Kob is in 16th position with a median price of $10,731 per year. In Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore, median prices are between 15% to 30% higher than Tokyo.

Malaysia is the least expensive destination in Asia when it comes to the cost of international schools. The three Malaysian cities included in our research - Johor Bahru, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh - Perak - make up 3 of 5 cheapest cities overall. The median price in the least expensive city, Ipoh - Perak, is $2,648 per year. Malaysia’s most expensive city in our research was Johor Bahru, with a median price of $6,273. This shows that even within a single country in Asia, a range of prices can be found.

When we compare Malaysia with China, however, the range of prices available becomes a lot more eye-opening. For example, the cheapest city in China is Guangzhou with a median price of $25,759 per year. So sending a child to an international school there will cost you almost 10 times more than it would in Ipoh - Perak. When it comes to international education in Asia, it is most definitely worth doing extensive research.

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 $11,165 $30,391 $36,799 $38,844 $40,337
2 Shanghai $4,812 $22,857 $33,777 $41,064 $44,710
3 Shenzhen $12,738 $21,003 $26,608 $33,260 $45,871
4 Guangzhou $9,932 $18,895 $25,759 $29,722 $34,421
5 Singapore $5,953 $15,535 $22,187 $26,500 $41,144
6 Seoul $5,898 $16,755 $21,602 $25,519 $33,486
7 Hanoi $5,383 $16,560 $19,387 $23,945 $29,670
8 Hong Kong $2,252 $16,145 $18,317 $23,559 $36,614
9 Ho Chi Minh City $5,014 $10,166 $15,670 $21,200 $26,247
10 Tokyo $4,308 $10,292 $15,537 $17,480 $22,352
11 Taipei $11,782 $14,134 $15,429 $17,798 $30,817
12 Jakarta $4,263 $9,258 $14,173 $20,654 $30,704
13 Bangkok $2,675 $8,980 $13,287 $17,976 $27,218
14 Pattaya $3,851 $7,775 $11,550 $15,868 $18,787
15 Yangon $7,010 $10,000 $11,500 $16,000 $28,529
16 Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe $5,297 $7,889 $10,731 $12,246 $18,291
17 Manila $2,473 $6,668 $9,035 $16,315 $21,733
18 Phuket $4,429 $7,996 $8,723 $9,963 $19,429
19 Chiang Mai $4,493 $7,002 $8,285 $9,949 $12,194
20 Bali $4,188 $5,138 $6,483 $10,002 $14,394
21 Johor Bahru $2,826 $4,667 $6,273 $13,413 $20,154
22 Kuala Lumpur $2,137 $4,043 $5,161 $8,117 $22,350
23 Phnom Penh $2,400 $3,885 $5,120 $7,644 $21,255
24 Ipoh - Perak $2,218 $2,299 $2,648 $2,691 $3,163

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: