Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The school report: global trends in expat education

Finding the right school for your child is often a headache. But if you are living overseas, it’s even harder to make the right decision. Expat parents often have to grapple with a new education system or make the tough choice to let their child board overseas. This year’s Expat Explorer survey is revealing about how expat parents tackle educating a child abroad.
Better education but this doesn’t come cheap
Encouragingly, the majority of expat parents say the quality of the education is better in their host country than it was at home (46% compared to 25% who say it is worse). Unsurprisingly, this comes at a cost: two-thirds say that it is more expensive to pay for their children’s education than before (65%).
In terms of where expats say their children received the best education, Asia puts in a strong performance in this year’s Expat Explorer report, with Japan, India and China all receiving top marks:

Top five countries for education
New Zealand

The dilemma: international or local?
In terms of the type of school expat parents send their children to, the 2014 survey reveals that two in five (40%) go for international schools. This is particularly prevalent in the Middle East, with the vast majority of expat parents in Qatar (84%), Bahrain (80%) and the United Arab Emirates (77%) opting for this type of schooling. 

However, the Expat Explorer survey shows that the majority of expat parents go local (60%), with over a third (37%) choosing the local state school. This trend is particularly common among expats living in English-speaking countries with established state curriculums such as Canada (79%), Ireland (78%), United States (78%) and the United Kingdom (72%). Parents say the advantage of sending their children to the local school is that it helps them to fully integrate into the local community: 

Getting to know a new system
Expats emphasise how important it is to research schooling as soon as possible, ensuring that you are completely familiar with your new country’s education system before making decisions about where to send your children to school. There are all sorts of differences between schools across the globe, from how the school year is structured and rules about uniform to examinations and the length of the school day. For example, did you know that…? 
  • While term starts in September in the UK, in Australia it starts in February
  • Japanese school uniform is based on the European naval uniform
  • Finnish children don’t start school until they are 7

For more insights from expats on what to do when educating your children abroad, be sure to check out these hints and tips from expats.
To find out more about what expats think of educating their children abroad and check out the latest findings of the Expat Explorer 2014 survey, visit our interactive tool. Be sure to share your experiences with us in the comments section or on Twitter (@expatexplorer)!

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