The cost of education in the UAE? AED1m per child

Gulf state ranks as the most expensive country in the world to educate a child from pre-school to degree level
The cost of education in the UAE? AED1m per child
(Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)
By Lubna Hamdan
Tue 06 Sep 2016 12:28 PM

The cost of a full education up to degree level per child in the UAE is almost AED1 million ($250,000), making it the most expensive country in the world, according to research by insurance giant Zurich.

The figure, which excludes multiple interest rates, is based on the total cost of education of two years at pre-school, six years at primary school, six years at secondary school and three years at a British university.

Pre, primary, and secondary school costs in the UAE total an average of almost AED530,000 ($145,000) per child.

The costs exclude fees such as cost of books, uniforms, and trips, which could increase the figure by 40 percent for top-level schools.

As for tertiary education, it costs an average of over AED 76,000 ($21,000) per year for UAE-based universities in comparison to AED55,000 ($15,000) in Australia and Canada, AED85,000 ($23,000) in the US, and AED57,000 ($15,500) in the UK.

Extra costs of basic living expenses per UAE student studying in the UK for a three-year course amount to almost AED235,000 ($64,000).

“A typical family with two children could look at spending as much as AED2 million on education,” Amrita Sethi, head of marketing and communication for Zurich International Life, Middle East, said in a statement.

“While some employers in the UAE contribute to education costs at primary and secondary level, the majority of people are left having to pay these costs themselves, with 70 percent of parents funding their child’s university education from day-to-day income, according to HSBC’s recent The Value of Education Foundations for the Future report. It’s a huge expense that, without proper savings and financial planning, is very difficult to meet and often at the opportunity cost of planning for other important goals, such as retirement,” says Sethi.

HSBC’s report also revealed 64 percent of parents in the UAE are willing to get into debt to fund their children’s university education while 41 percent of parents prioritise their child’s education over their own retirement.

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