Taiwan's appetite for foreign education

Post date: Aug 10, 2016 8:50:15 AM

The graduation season is upon us and the continuing of students’ education is an important issue faced not only by students. Parents will have already pro-actively put in place plans for the next stage of their child’s education. According to Mastercard’s latest “Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education”, Taiwanese parents place great emphasis on the education of the next generation and understand the importance of advance financial planning for their children’s future education. More than 82% of Taiwanese parents establish an education trust fund for their children, the highest number in the Greater China region and higher also than neighboring South Korea and Japan. Furthermore, in order to provide children with the best educational environment half of all parents plan to arrange for their children to study overseas, with the US being the first choice.

Head of Mastercard Taiwan Eva Chen says: “According to the 2015 IMD World Talent Report, among the 61 countries surveyed, Taiwan’s talent competitiveness ranked 23rd, higher than Japan (26th), South Korea (31st) and China (40th). Evidently talent development has become the foundation for boosting competitiveness. In addition, the fact that the percentage of Taiwanese parents establishing education trust funds and spending on children’s education is at the forefront in the Asia-Pacific region shows that Taiwanese parents place a great amount of emphasis on the education of the next generation for the creating of a better future.”

Taiwanese parents place great importance on the education of the next generation, and by ratio plan the most extensively for their children’s higher education fund out of the Greater China Region.Taiwanese parents wish to avoid their children losing out before the race has even begun and so invest heavily in their children’s futures, arranging for them to study a number of extra skills and talents. However, in order to sufficiently prepare for the next generation’s education, only fixed investment in, and prudent application of, an education fund will do. In Taiwan more than 82% of parents establish an education trust fund for their children, a figure that places the country first in Greater China and that is higher than neighboring South Korea (75%) and Japan (61%). This indicates that there is a general tendency for Taiwanese parents to plan ahead with regards to their children’s education. In addition Taiwanese parents spend on average 17% of monthly household income on their children’s education, second highest in the Asia Pacific region, showing that even in the face of recent economic recession, Taiwanese parents are still fully committed to investing in the next generation.

Also, parents are not just committed to planning of education trust funds, they are also heavily involved in the planning of their children’s extracurricular time. Survey results show that nearly 60% of parents in the Asia-Pacific region arrange for their children to attend extracurricular activities. In Taiwan this figure is as high as 70%. The three most popular extracurricular activities are after-school tutoring (35%), foreign language classes (33%), and sports activities (31%). This shows that extracurricular activities attended by Taiwanese children are oriented towards enhancing classroom knowledge and languages so as to boost competitiveness.

50% of parents plan to send children overseas to study, America is the No. 1 destination.Education reforms in Taiwan in recent years have led to a glut of university admissions, in turn causing a university diploma bubble. Due to this Taiwanese parents have less and less faith in Taiwan’s education system and the next generation are apprehensive about their future. According to survey results 49% of parents feel that overseas educational systems are superior to Taiwan’s and 21% plan to send their children off-shore to receive their college education. America is the number choice of destinations for both Asia-Pacific and Taiwanese parents for their children’s education.

Although studying abroad is the ideal educational blueprint that a large number of Taiwanese parents follow for the education plans of their children, 54% still plan for their children to attend local universities due to economic considerations. In addition, tuition fees for overseas study are continuing to rise and overseas study is no longer the only way to gain overseas experience. More and more students are taking part in student exchange programs, or working holiday and volunteer services abroad opportunities in order to develop a global outlook. This has led to a decrease of 21% year on year in the number of parents planning to send their children abroad to study.

Active participation in further education, emphasis on self-development of competitivity in professional fields.In addition to cultivating the next generation, the Taiwanese public also places great emphasis on investment in personal professional skills so as to maintain a competitive edge in the workplace. Survey results show that in the next year 41% of Taiwanese will attend continuing education courses, considerably higher than the average for Asia-Pacific of 28%, placing the country third in the region. It is also a 4% increase from last year’s figure. The main objectives of those pursuing further education is to increase professional knowledge and to cultivate interests. In addition survey results show that Taiwanese investment in development of personal interests ranks second in the region, showing that Taiwanese are paying more and more attention to their daily lives and increasingly understand the importance of using personal time to develop their own interests.

Mastercard’s “Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education” was conducted during November and December of 2015. The Asia-Pacific regional report addressed 17 markets with 8,779 consumers in possession of bank accounts between the age of 18-64. Overall trends with regards to education consumption habits and values were evaluated. The 17 countries taking part in the “Survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education” were Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand. The survey itself does not reflect on the financial performance of Mastercard.