ISB, King’s College and Harrow are among the most expensive international schools in Bangkok, charging the highest fees for a primary level education (years 1 to 6). But the newly opened Verso International School has the highest fees of them all.
At Verso it costs more than six million baht to give a child a complete primary school education.
At the international schools in Bangkok with the lowest fees for a corresponding education, the cost is around one million baht, or one sixth of the most expensive school’s.
This is shown in a compilation made by Thailand International School Monitor, based on information from the schools.
“For the first time ever, families can easily get an overview of how much an international education in Thailand costs. This will hopefully make it much easier when choosing a school,” says Anders Engvall, Head of Research at TIS Monitor.
Over 6 million baht! This is the cost of putting your child through years 1 to 6 at the most expensive international school in Bangkok – and Thailand, Verso International School in Samut Prakan.
The next four places are held by ISB (International School Bangkok), King’s College, Wellington College, and Harrow, respectively. At all of these schools education for years 1 to 6 costs a total of around 5 million baht. All five of these schools are located in or around Bangkok.
However parents looking for schools with lower fees do not have to move to smaller cities, where the cost of international schools tend to be lower than in the capital. Even in Bangkok, there are schools for families with smaller budgets. The schools in Bangkok with the lowest fees include Kevalee International School, Centurion International School and Ekamai International School. A primary education at these schools is only a sixth of the cost charged by the most expensive schools in the city.
TIS Monitor’s researchers, led by Dr Anders Engvall, have compiled all the information on school fees the schools would provide. The data collected was based on both published information and through direct contacts with schools.
“There is a lack of transparent standards for school fees. Schools all have different ways of presenting their fees and other costs, which makes it difficult for parents to easily navigate all the different types of costs.” Dr Anders Engvall says.
To make the comparison fair and transparent, TIS Monitor’s team has had to develop their own a method to analyse them. Among other things, all initial fees, such as registration, enrollment and test fees, have been included. In addition, the cost of school meals has been included, but not school transport or school uniform.
Q: Dr. Engvall, what was the most difficult part of creating this comparative data?
“There were two major challenges we faced. The first was getting hold of the information. Some schools post it on their websites, but in many other cases the schools obviously do not want to publish their fees. The second challenge was being able to make fair comparisons between the schools. Some schools have complicated fee structures which make this difficult. They use a great deal of creativity and innovation in charging fees for everything imaginable.”
Q: Was there anything in your research that you found surprising?
“What was most surprising is the huge price range between the most expensive and the cheapest schools in Bangkok. Another point is the enormous initial fees that the most expensive schools charge just for accepting a child into the school. The highest initial fee is 848,500 baht, which is almost equal to the cost of a complete primary education at one of the cheapest schools. Part of this initial fee is often in the form of a deposit which is repaid when the child leaves school, but it is nevertheless a major financial burden on many families. ”
Q: Generally speaking, are schools transparent about how much their education costs?
“Unfortunately we see a massive variation in transparency. Many established schools are exemplary in presenting their fees, and will publish updated information on their websites, including predictions about future fee increases. At the same time, there are many schools that consistently hide information about their fees and will neither publish them nor provide any information to interested parents. There are also schools that publish information in such a way that it makes it difficult for parents to calculate the real costs. For example, by showing school fees per semester, lunch fee per month and book fees per year, it requires advanced calculations to work out the total cost.”
Q: What do you wish schools would do better?
“It would be a lot easier for everyone if the schools would switch to a standardized system for presenting their fees, where all compulsory costs are included. When we buy a car, we expect the price we are given to include tires, a steering wheel and an engine, as these are all needed for the car to be usable. In the same way, parents should be able to expect information on tuition fees where tuition, books and lunch are included, as all this is necessary for the child to be able to participate in the school. ”
Q: What about schools that refuse to present their fees, how do you deal with them?
“Schools that do not publish their fees to the public or share them with our research team have not been not included in the compilation.”
Q: As parents, how should this data be used?
“Parents can use our compilation to get a true picture of the total costs of different schools. The costs must of course be weighed against other factors, such as results in terms of knowledge and other skills, as well as location. TIS Monitor will continuously present further analysis of the schools’ costs and results to facilitate these comparisons.”
Q: Why is it important to compile and present this data as we do, under “Your Data”?
“It is not reasonable to expect parents to be able to make a fair comparison between the costs different schools charge on their own. TIS Monitor’s data is thus an important tool to enable this type of comparison, and to guide families in their choice of school. In the long run, the purpose of TIS Monitor is to help families make informed choices, where the cost corresponds to expectations in terms of educational results.”
Note from the editor: Fee data is published under “School Data” in the main menu.