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UAE parents are ambitious, but unprepared for children’s education

Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University Campus

Study reveals only one per cent have formal education plans in place

April 17, 2014 5:57 by

UAE parents may be among the most ambitious in the world, but they are not very prepared to support their children’s education. A recent HSBC survey examined how financially prepared parents in the UAE were when it came to funding their children’s education, their academic priorities and expectations. Outcomes indicated the need for parents to implement a sustainable saving plan in order to meet the ambitions they have for their children’s education.


HSBC’s Value of Education: Springboard For Success comprises the views of more than 4,500 higher income parents from 15 countries – with 300 from the UAE – who have at least one child under the age of 23 currently in education (or soon to be), and are solely or partially responsible for making decisions about their child’s education. The sample group of UAE parents had a minimum personal monthly income of AED20,000


Two thirds of parents in the country said they wished they had begun saving earlier for their children’s education. According to the report, UAE parents only allocate 31 per cent of their funds to this goalfar lower than the global average of 43 per cent. This in spite of four in five parents in the UAE believing that paying for their child’s education is the best investment they can make, much higher than the global average.


“The lack of preparation is particularly alarming as most have high expectations of their children,” says HSBC. Eighty six per cent of parents hope that their child will study to a postgraduate level, making them the most ambitious in the world in this aspect. These high aspirations can be attributed to UAE parents’ expectations that higher education will have tangible financial benefits in the lives of their children; with 48 per cent citing the high-income potential and 40 per cent alluding to access to opportunities in life as the primary draws of post-graduate studies.


Sixty five per cent of the parents said they were considering sending their children to study abroad in the UK (60 percent), the US (60 per cent) and Canada (37 per cent) – as they believe these locations offer the highest quality of education. Additionally, for those parents looking to send their children to pursue higher education in the UAE, the three most popular university degrees – business, engineering and law – are typically more expensive than degrees in non-vocational courses.


Virtually all (99 per cent) parents in the country are funding their children’s education fully or partially through their current income, and approximately one third use current savings, while funding through investments or specific education plans is very rare. In this regard, the UAE is far behind the global average.



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