More parents in Singapore prefer kids to study in local universties

SINGAPORE - Two-thirds of parents in Singapore prefer their children to study at a local university, according to a recent MasterCard survey.

This trend is mirrored across the Asia Pacific with a majority of parents in Vietnam (79 per cent), Bangladesh (78 per cent), Japan (76 per cent), India (75 per cent), the Philippines (69 per cent), Singapore (69 per cent), Thailand (67 per cent), Indonesia (64 per cent), New Zealand (61 per cent), Taiwan (57 per cent) and Australia (53 per cent) agreeing.

The MasterCard survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities - Education shows that more parents (9 per cent) in Singapore plan for their children to attend local universities, compared to one year ago.

As university tuition fees in Singapore continue to increase, 82 per cent of parents say that they regularly save 14 per cent on average each month for their children's education.

65 per cent of parents in Singapore spend up to 30 per cent of household income on tuition fees, including additional classes on academic subjects, and extra-curricular classes such as music, sports, arts and language.

Over the last decade, more universities in the region have made a mark on global rankings.  At the same time, undergraduate education enrolment across the Asia Pacific region has been growing rapidly as more people seek higher education locally and in the region.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranks the National University of Singapore (NUS) 2nd in Asia and 25th worldwide, while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) ranks 11th in Asia and 61st worldwide.

When asked about personal education plans, close to 40 per cent of respondents in Singapore expressed interest to attend an education course in 2015.

47 per cent cited professional skills upgrade as the main reason, while 16 per cent said that the courses were hobby-related and for self-improvement.

"Parents today are focused on investing in their children's education and save early to provide them with quality learning. It's very encouraging that universities in Singapore are ranked well globally and that parents in Singapore have the option of providing their children world-class education right here at home," says Deborah Heng, group head and general manager, MasterCard Singapore.

The research is based on a survey conducted between October 2014 and November 2014 on 8,235 respondents aged between 18 and 64. Respondents in16 countries across Asia Pacific countries were asked questions about their education spending priorities. In Singapore, 411 respondents were surveyed online.

The survey findings are part of MasterCard's suite of research into Consumer Purchasing Priorities in the Asia/Pacific region.