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16 Apr 2014

Studying the options

Simon Williams

by Simon Williams

Group Head of Wealth Management, HSBC

Studying the options (HSBC/Reynaldo Mondez Jr)

Parents look to education to help their children to gain confidence

Anyone who has attended a graduation ceremony knows the pride parents take in their children’s educational achievement. Seeing a child emerge with a degree or diploma is a wonderful moment.

Our latest research, The Value of Education Springboard for success, shows that a university education is a global aspiration, shared by 89 per cent of the 4,500 parents surveyed in 15 countries.

Parents look to education to help their children to gain confidence and competencies in core subjects, to improve problem-solving skills, compete in the workplace and boost earning potential.

To put it simply, education pays. In all the countries monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the higher the education, the greater the relative earnings.

Parents want their children to have a share of rising prosperity and to have better opportunities than they had

For many families, making decisions about their child’s education can be a daunting experience. Is the public education system good enough, or would they do better paying for a private education? Which school or university is best? Would they benefit from attending university in another country, in a world where more than three million people now study abroad?

The cost and quality of education can vary considerably across countries. When government funding is cut back, school and university fees can rise sharply.

Four out of five families who pay for their child’s education depend on their current income to provide the funds, with smaller numbers using savings or investments. But more than half wish they had started planning and saving earlier.

Some parents are happy to rely on public education for their family, particularly at the primary stage. Others consider it important to pay for private schools, and when it comes to university, to send children overseas. Clearly, this adds considerably to the funding burden. Yet many families want to see their children at the world’s best universities.

In future, it will be interesting to see whether internet-based courses, such as Massive Open Online Courses that offer students the chance to study for free or at low cost, offer another option. These are growing in popularity, but so far most students taking them come from the host country. In addition, many parents see learning a foreign language as one of the benefits of studying abroad.

Some of the strongest aspirations come from countries where economic growth and prosperity are increasing. Parents want their children to have a share of rising prosperity and to have better opportunities than they had.

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