Malaysian parents allocate 42% of their life savings on their child’s education. How then do you ensure a good return on investment on your child’s education?
These findings from HSBC’s Global Report, Springboard to Success, shows that Malaysian parents are highly concerned on the educational funding for their child in acquiring knowledge and soft skills which would help them to succeed in studies and in life. Taylor’s College recently sat down with a few Malaysian parents to capture their views on the planning of their child’s tertiary education in view of the rising cost of living.
“My child still needs to further her studies, whether GST comes in place or not. However, there are a lot of questions in our minds, for example if there is an increase in terms of supply fees, resource fees, exam fees, etc. Therefore, I’m checking around with a few institutions to get a clearer picture, so that she won’t be bogged down with these costs. At the end of the day, it’s her who will be studying and I want to make sure that she is placed in a tertiary institution where she could have the opportunity to explore her passion and put her abilities to full use,” says Quek, whose daughter is exploring an Australian-based Pre-U studies.
Lim Hong Kheng, who has two sons pursuing their university studies and a younger child who is looking at Pre-U options, shared, “I have spoken to a lot of parents while doing my research on my child’s study options; some are looking at just a certificate for their child, while others look into giving their child the best learning experience. It’s just a matter of preference on how we justify the amount we spend on their studies. But if we could have the best of worlds, why not? Now with GST in place, I don’t mind a little bonus in terms of scholarship, bursaries and study grants.”
Both Quek and Lim agree that waiting and observing is not the solution. “I don’t want my son to lose the momentum in pursuing his studies. He had his break from December till now. Every semester delayed opens up to a bigger pool of competition and more changes will come,” said Lim.
Quek added that changes have to be accepted and it shouldn’t be the reason to deter a child from furthering his or her studies.
Rabia Bibi binti Labhu encourages her daughter to participate in camps and programmes organised by tertiary education institutions to minimise the risk of making an uninformed decision. “It helps her to understand herself better and make up her mind in pursuing the right pre-u programme. She was quite lost with the wide number of options and uncertain about her study pathways, so we sent her for a real-life experience as a college student in one of the top colleges in the country.”
Taylor’s College President, Lim Tou Boon views these situations as an opportunity for Malaysian parents and students to evaluate the various probabilities. “Given the rising costs, it is crucial for parents and students to discuss and weigh their study options together to make the right career and study choices.”
“It also challenges us to be more effective and productive in our programme delivery and to be spot on when it comes to providing students with necessary support during their studies here. We will continue to provide students with an awesome learning experience and equip them with critical life-changing skills that will guide them to thrive in an increasingly fast-changing and competitive environment, be it at college, university or at their future workplace.” he continues.
So, what are the tips for parents and students to consider when making their study choices?
• Explore study options that bring out the best in your child. It is important for your child to discover their interest and passion; identify their strengths and abilities and explore the programme/career that brings out the best in them. According to a research by Penn State University in 2012, 50% of students change their majors at least once before graduation, wasting valuable time and money.
• Look into courses which will equip your child with opportunities to gain more value in their learning experience through the acquisition of learning skills, life skills and leadership skills which will develop their character in addition to mastery of subject knowledge.
• Check with education counsellors on the comprehensive list of fees that will be incurred during your child’s studies at college, i.e. examination fees, resources fees, lab fees, etc so you will not be caught by surprise with additional costs after enrollment.
• Find out about scholarships, bursaries, alumni discounts, etc. If your child obtains at least 9A+ in his/her SPM examination, he/she is entitled to apply for the Ministry of Education KPM Bursary 2015, which covers tuition fees and accommodation charges.
• Explore the various options in pre-university and university pathways; talk to university placement consultants on university study opportunities locally and abroad, and allocate the finances for your child’s studies in advance.
In addition, parents should discuss and plan their child’s future study options together. This will provide a supportive platform for the child to achieve his/her personal life goals through a study pathway that will bring about the best possible returns on investment.