Parents prefer overseas education


Starting early: Lim says parents should begin saving for education from the time their children are young.

A whopping 88% of Malaysian parents would consider sending their child overseas to pursue their tertiary education.

HSBC Malaysia Retail Banking and Wealth Management head Lim Eng Seong (pic) said this was higher than the global average of 77%.

He said that parents were willing to fork out more for a university education abroad.

“Parents are willing to make sacrifices to fund their children’s education but there is often a gap between expectation and reality,” he said when releasing The Value for Education, Learning for life, Malaysia Report on Thursday.

The 14-page study showed that parents saw a foreign education as a means to better job opportunities, help young people make new friends and provide international exposure.

The study also revealed that up to 46% of Malaysians would pay up to a quarter more, while 22% would pay 50% more than the cost of studying locally.

“It is not surprising that parents are willing to pay more for tertiary studies abroad as they believe that a good education will provide a good career and generate more wealth,” said Lim.

For parents who preferred a local education for their children, 43% said they could not afford to send their children overseas while another 48% believed that Malaysia offers a superior university education.

Lim said the key to ensuring one could afford to send their child overseas is to plan and save.

He said parents should start saving early, from the time their children are very young in order to generate additional savings through compound interest.

“You must plan to put aside a little bit more (than what you expect) as your child could be staying in university for longer or want to pursue postgraduate studies,” he added.

Another benefit of saving early, Lim said, is parents might be able to take smaller loans to fund their children’s education.

“Start saving early and don’t let your plans get derailed,” he said, adding that the study found that 33% of parents with a pre-primary school child think they will need to borrow money to cover education costs.

It was also found that 51% of those with a university-going child are already using or a planning to use borrowed funds.

In an immediate response, corporate communications manager Dharshini Ganeson said she has been investing in education savings plans to fund her childrens’ studies abroad.

She said she started saving when her children were still young. Her son has completed his degree in Australia while her daughter is expected to leave for the United States in two years.

Another parent said she would gladly send her three children overseas to study if she could afford it.

“Our children don’t have a future here with the deteriorating standards of our country’s education,” housewife Christina Tan added.

The Value of Education is an independent consumer research study into global education tends, commissioned by HSBC.

The global report, Learning for Life, is the second in the series and represents the views of 5,5550 parents in 16 countries and territories.

The findings in this report are based on a nationally representative survey of 350 parents in Malaysia, who have at least one child aged 23 or younger currently (or soon to be) in education, and who are solely or partially responsible for making decisions about their child’s education.

The research was conducted out online by Ipsos MORI in March and April this year.

Meanwhile, Second Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said it was not important if parents wanted to send their children to overseas universities or not.

“Of course everyone wants to send their children overseas if they can afford it.

“What’s important is that I do my job to provide the best education possible for the rakyat,” he said when commenting on the HSBC report.

“But we need to look at what we’ve done and achieved in this short time,” he said referring to the efforts under the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 and the Malaysia Education Blueprint (Higher Education) 2015 to 2025.

Idris also said the education system in the country was “soaring upwards”.

“I am positive that in 10 years, our public universities will be ranked in the top one-third,” Idris said after the #TanyaGomen event on Thursday.

Questions on “Pendidikan Tinggi Negara: Meningkat atau Merosot?” were fielded from the 150-odd crowd consisting of students, various stakeholders and the media as well as from the Twitter hashtag.

On the ministry’s latest developments, Idris shared that Bank Negara is currently collaborating with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“The MIT business school will be running an MBA programme in the country by September,” he said.

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