Who Can Afford Education Nowadays? (part 1)

By Randell Tiongson on October 27th, 2009

People say that it is quite a challenge to send our kids to school nowadays and I agree 100%!

Just how difficult is it? About 14 years ago, our eldest daughter Billie entered preschool. I can still remember her anxiety. . . how she didn’t want to be left alone in school and how she clung to her mom’s legs so tightly out of fear of her new environment. . . great memories indeed. Two years later, our second daughter Gabbie had a different experience. . . she didn’t have the fears of her ate and entered the school like a very confident little girl.

Aside from their first-day school experiences, I also remembered their tuition. My first child’s Kinder 1 tuition at her school was about P35,000, and my second daughter’s slightly increased to about P38,000. Today, me eldest daughter’s tuition is now about P 195,000 a year while my second daughter’s tuition is about P 105,000 – that’s a whopping 457% and a 176% increase respectively in a span of over a decade. These figures are not inclusive of books, uniforms, etc. — just tuition! By the way, I don’t have just 2 kids, I also have 2 more sons.

Our concern has always been about providing for our children’s educational costs and after sending kids to schools for over a decade, it doesn’t get any easier.

It’s all about priorities. Filipino parents are so admirable that they move heaven and earth just to send their kids to school. They labor, they sacrifice. . . . It is not uncommon to find deserving students in expensive schools even if their parents can’t really afford it. While that is indeed an admirable trait, it is also a big concern. Why? Many parents pour everything they have into their children’s education without really planning for themselves. The result? They will be dependent on their children in the future, an offshoot of putting everything in the education of their kids.

This is a very controversial argument. It is every parent’s concern and priority to provide for their children, education being one of them. I am not saying that parents forfeit this obligation; on the contrary, I often coach parents on how to properly prepare for education costs. But parents must put things in their proper perspective. The ability to provide for their kids’ education is commensurate with their ability to put their financial life in order. We can’t sacrifice quality living and preparation for the future in the name of our kids’ education. When it comes to expensive education, I often say “go!”, but just make sure you can truly afford it. There are preschools today that cost P200,000 or more. The sprouting of “international” schools that charge outrageous tuition is an indication of how we put value on education. I often ask myself if sending my kids to expensive schools is really worth it. Often, our finances are so drained because of education that we tend to sacrifice other areas like retirement planning, investments, etc.

Is expensive tuition really worth it? Is quality education really all about expensive schools? How much money do we spend on private tutors? We live in a culture that encourages sending our kids to schools—at a price we can hardly afford that it puts too much pressure on us parents. Sacrificing for our children’s future is admirable, and I agree with that 100 percent. But I disagree with putting our children’s hopes solely on educational institutions. Being a training professional myself, I know that the ability to teach people is not just about good teachers, materials and facilities. It’s really more than that.

Honestly, did we really use what we learned in college when we started to work? Probably for doctors, dentists, lawyers. . . but for the rest of us? Hmm. Did school really prepare us for life? Do expensive, exclusive schools increase the chances of success? There really is no way for us to validate these arguments, but there is something I am sure about. Not having gone to expensive schools will not prevent a person from being successful. How many successful people did not go to an expensive university? A lot! I often check out many executives and successful entrepreneurs for their educational background. There are just as many successful people who did not go to an expensive school as those who did.

Catch part 2 of this blog, soon!


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Who Can Afford Education Nowadays? (part 1)