Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Cost of Education

In the western world, education is seen as a 'fundemental' and funding is prioritised. The amount of funding can send the average parent mental. That is not to discount the eastern parent in China or Japan, however, but the conversation in the Tavern today was on the west, or rather this bit of it here in Oz which is possibly better described location-wise as in the east.  We were shown some figures for the education of our kiddies. Thank goodness I am no longer burdened.

In Oz the various States generally has the requirement to pay for and provide for the education of children in their State. The Federal Govmunt often sticks a finger in the pot. People pay taxes: the Federal Govmunt doles it out, giving the States some to pay for the schools. Of course, one could make a sound case that it should pay for the children but that would put power in parental hands and that would never do !  Their job is just to pay tax.

One could also make a case for reducing tax by the amount dedicated to the per capita funding and let the parents pay for themselves. But that would not do either. Same reason. The parents' job is to pay tax. 

Tax clerks need employment.

One would expect in any rational, equitable system that all taxpayers would be treated the same, but then the tax system would have to and it doesn't.  So neither are the schools. Nor the parents. 

Frankly it is a mess.

The mess is made more colourful by having at least three major systems running alongside one another. These, too, are treated very differently. We have the 'Public' system, the 'Private' or 'Independent' system and the 'Catholic' system. 

The children who attend these types of school attract different amounts of tax support.

Over 40% of Oz children attend Catholic and Independent schools.

And the different systems attract different amounts of 'passion' too. The Catholics do not trust the secular education with its lack of values and lack of personal discipline (similarlyinclined non-Catholics too attend Catholic schools) and are prepared to pay extra, over and above their tax: and the Independants' parents who pay really high fees get incensed at the scurrilous animosty of the left who consider them 'Rich'. Those fee-payers pay tax of course, and the wealthier ones pay vastly and proportionately more. The State school parents want more money and get really annoyed that some other people actually pay more from their own after-tax pocket.

Envy, animosity and ideological bastardry are all encouraged by Government.

But let us see what Chanel Kinniburgh had to say.
The huge cost of sending your child through 13 years of school... 
....has been revealed, with a surprising city as the most expensive.
The average median cost of a government education over a 13-year period in metropolitan Australia is $68,727, the latest ASG Planning for Education Index has revealed.
Parents considering a Catholic education for their son or daughter in metropolitan Australia are expected to spend $127,027, while the average median cost of an independent education in Australia’s capital cities is a whopping $298,689.
OK. That is on an annual basis (albeit changing over time)
$5286 per capita child in the Public system. 
$9771 for the Catholics:
$23727 for Independants.

Mind you, just what we can make of the 'average median'.... a la mode maths?

It should be noted that the Catholic and Independent schools do not receive State funding equal to the State schools. The Federal Guvmunt 'may' provide some additional funding, but even that does not close the gap.
ASG, the largest provider of education scholarship plans in Australia, found Brisbane was the most expensive national city for a government education, with the bill coming in at $75,601 — 10 per cent higher than the national average of $68,727.
Startlingly, school fees made up just a small fraction of the estimated total cost of a government education each year, with external tuition and devices both costing more.
The ASG research discovered Adelaide was the country’s most expensive city for a Catholic education, with the median total cost exceeding $131,000.
Whereas, Sydney was Australia’s most expensive city for an independent education, with parents expected to spend $461,999 over a 13-year period — 54.7 per cent above the national average of $276,338.
School fees were easily the most expensive component of an independent education in metropolitan Australia, costing parents approximately $14,116 per child per year.
Mother, Sarah Charge, whose youngest daughter is about to start Year 9 at a Catholic school in Sydney, described the total cost of an education as “scary” when seen as a lump sum.
“The estimated total cost is a lot more than I thought it would be, however we’ve been fortunate to source second hand uniforms and texts books which helps keep costs down,” Ms Charge said.
“I’m also really surprised the estimated total cost of a Catholic education in Sydney is below the national average. It must be the only thing that is, especially when you compare it to accommodation and house prices.”
The ASG Planning for Education Index also showed the average median cost of a government education in regional Australia was $57,994.
Parents considering a Catholic education for their son or daughter in regional Australia are expected to spend $109,877, while the average median cost of an independent education in regional Australians $201,210.
The Index discovered regional New South Wales was Australia’s most expensive state for a government education ($73,808), regional Queensland the most expensive for a Catholic education ($113,211) and regional Victoria the most expensive state for an independent education ($248,543).
ASG CEO Ross Higgins said the cost of education had risen at more than double the rate of inflation over the past decade.
“Education costs, including tuition costs, uniforms, transport and devices are demanding a far greater share of the family budget than in the past,” Mr Higgins said.
“More than ever, the costs associated with education are placing more of a burden on Australian families, who are already challenged by the rising cost of living.
“With less discretionary money to spend, it’s going to be very hard to pay for education, which means parents who have saved will be in a better position in the long run.”
Mr Higgins encouraged parents to put in place a dedicated savings plan, so they can financially afford to meet their children’s educational goals and aspirations.
ASG has also developed a Cost Calculator tool which may assist looking at this data as it applies to your circumstances.
The Index was based on data sourced from a survey of 2300 ASG members on ancillary costs and public information on school fees from the Good Schools Guide and My School website.
The data was then consolidated and analysed by Monash University.
I do not know what they do for funding in other countries. I am aware that America does not provide tax funds to some schools in some States. I know of parents who pay for and run their own schools. 

Personally I put two children through Independent Schools. I say independent, not Catholic: one was Baptist and the other Church of England. It cost a fortune. And not a small one. I also put one wife through College to Batchelors and another through Batchelors, MEd and PhD. That was not a small fortune too. There was a struggle to get my degrees, I can tell you. The 'provider' is always last in line.

No wonder I am poor.

I would welcome comments from around the world. 

Meanwhile, I shall line up the pints.



  1. I'm so long out of education now but fees do determine salaries. We charged not a lot in London at Prep level and thus a head's salary was similar to a senior teacher's - at another more upmarket school, I was offered twice that just as Computer Science and History [don't ask]. It does affect the quality of staff and also clientele, although many were there for geographical reasons. Most middle-class Londoners could have afforded one child at our school.

    1. Any idea of the 'average' or median fees/costs in your various UK schools?

  2. Not today, except as you would - online but in the 90s, we wanted £2000 for a 12 week course, full boarding.

  3. Back in the day, when I was in the education business, there was a small town in my area of the north of England that had a significant proportion of Muslim families. The concerned parents of this Muslim community fought tooth and nail (places for non-Catholics were limited) to get their kids into the one government-aided. Catholic school in town. Why? Discipline, moral values and academic achievement might be relevant here.

    1. Many people in Oz, of all backgrounds, see catholic schooks as being far better than the others for values, discipline and academic rigour, but less expensive than the more academicly successful (results and connections) Independants.


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