Why is International School Education So Expensive?

This is a question that many parents would like to know the answer to, and when taking the old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ into account, there is little doubt that an international school education is up there with the best. In order to address this question, one must take into account numerous aspects; the campus being an obvious place to start, and building a fully equipped international school campus is a huge investment that will take many years to see a return. There are many aspects of an international school that are reflected in the high term fees, including the following.

The Best Teachers

Take an international school such as St. Andrews Green Valley, which is located on the Eastern Seaboard in Thailand, close to the city of Rayong, and all of their teachers are directly employed from the United Kingdom. To attract top teachers to work abroad, you must offer attractive salaries and benefits, and international school teachers are the highest paid of all, otherwise they simply would not uproot and live in a foreign land. No expense is spared when recruiting teachers from the homeland, with comprehensive health insurance, 5-star accommodation, with children’s school fees paid, should the teacher bring their family. This is one reason why term fees are so high at international schools, and if you want your child to have the best education, enrolling them in an international program is recommended.

Teacher Training

In order for a person to become a teacher in the United Kingdom, they must have the relevant qualifications and become registered as a teacher with the Ministry of Education, and trainee teachers are taught how to act as facilitators when the students are engaged in learning projects, which is a very different role to that of a traditional teacher. The current British curriculum is designed for active learning, using the project-based approach, and without trained teachers, this system simply doesn’t work. It is imperative, therefore, that all international school teachers are native to the UK and that they are trained and very capable of delivering a dynamic curriculum designed to bring out the best in the students. On the subject of education, here is an article that compares active and passive learning, which reveals some truths.

First Class Amenities

An international school simply must have the following on their campus:

  • Swimming Pool
  • IT Centre
  • Sports Field
  • Library
  • Canteen
  • Main Meeting Hall
  • Science Laboratory

There must also be adequate space for various activities, with a plot of land for agriculture and growing projects, car parking facilities and many classrooms and labs. This is a considerable investment that must also be maintained, again, added to the term fees.

Supporting Staff

It is not uncommon for an international school in Bangkok to have 40-50 local staff that work in the campus, with roles such as:

  • Campus security
  • Drivers
  • Maintenance staff
  • Gardeners
  • Office staff
  • Medical officer

The school would likely employ a local handyman, whose job it is to fix the small things that need to be repaired, so it is quite a lot of human resources that are needed to manage and operate an international school.

School Dinners

Of course, the school must have a fully functional kitchen, to feed the entire student population, the teachers and all staff, and this on its own is a significant investment. You would expect that your child receives good food while at school, and as school fees are all-inclusive, your child is fed and refreshed throughout the school day, with milk during breaks and snacks outside of lunch time.

Teacher-Student Ratio

Rather than putting lots of students into one class, the international school would set a limit of around 25 students, which enables the teacher to cultivate a good relationship with each pupil. Keeping classes small means the costs must be shared among fewer parents, which is one reason why terms fees are high. Generally speaking, government schools have 40-50 students per class, which is way too many for any teacher to handle, so when you enroll your child in an international school, you are assured of small classes. Here is a link to a UK government website for those who wish to get into teaching as a career, which gives you an idea of the requirements.

Benefits of an International Education

If your child finished Year 12 with 8 GCSE and 3 A-level passes, he or she can literally choose the university to continue their education, which is a big advantage, not to mention the ability to speak English, which is an essential skill to have. The learner would be able to problem solve and would have a degree of independence and be familiar with critical thinking, thanks to the system of education they received from an international school.

Like most things in life, the best is usually the most expensive, but making an investment in your child’s future is certain to bring big dividends for both your child and you, as a 5-star education is the pathway to a successful career.