August 30, 2012
Extra-curricular classes still a high priority for childhood education
Hong Kong, 30 August 2012 – While most students and parents are busy preparing for the start of the new school year next week, a recent MasterCard Worldwide survey reveals that Hong Kong parents are the least likely across 14 markets in Asia/Pacific to send their children to study at local universities, instead they are more likely to send them overseas. The survey also showed that Hong Kong parents heavily prioritize extra-curricular activities. Despite these investments in their children’s future, they tend to spend and save relatively less in proportion of their monthly household income for children’s education compared to their counterparts in the region.
The latest MasterCard survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education survey was conducted between April and June 2012 and involved 6,904 consumers in 14 markets in Asia/Pacific. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
In terms of university education, Hong Kong sees the lowest percentage (45%) of parents planning to send their children to study locally across 14 markets in Asia/Pacific, behind Taiwan (55%) and China (46%) and much lower than the regional average of 63%. Universities in the U.S. and Europe are most preferred by local parents.
The survey also showed that Hong Kong has the second highest percentage (88%) of parents arranging for their children to participate in at least one enrichment class. The most popular enrichment classes among local parents are sports (e.g. swimming, soccer), musical instruments (e.g. piano, violin), extra academic tuition, foreign languages, and art. Hong Kong’s scores slightly behind Thailand (91%) but ahead of China (81%) and Taiwan (76%), indicating that local parents consider extra-curricular activities as an essential part of children’s education.
Despite the popular local saying that it takes HK$4 million to raise one child, Hong Kong parents are in fact only spending and saving an average of 13% and 15% respectively of their monthly household income for their children’s education, the same as China but behind most markets in Asia/Pacific (including Taiwan) as well as the regional average (spending 15%; saving 16%).
Jeroen van Son, head of Hong Kong and Macau, MasterCard Worldwide, said “With the new school year just round the corner, it’s a good time to evaluate how Hong Kong parents financially plan for their children’s education. Local families choose to send their children abroad for tertiary education, perhaps due to the reputation associated with international universities and the added experience time abroad brings, which can enhance employment prospects.”
"The tendency to prioritize extra-curricular activities compared with other parents in the Asia/Pacific region makes it clear why enrichment classes for babies, toddlers, primary school students and even teenagers are so popular. The introduction of the new '3-3-4' education system and Liberal Studies to the secondary school curriculum may also contribute to this phenomenon as parents prepare their children for their future," he continued.
Children’s Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities in Asia/Pacific
Parents Planning to Send Their Children to Study within their Market in Asia/Pacific
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.