Education costs rising, but families learning to cope

For those parents who cannot afford the rising costs, it can hurt

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Published: Wed 16 Aug 2017, 10:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Aug 2017, 12:28 AM

Back to school. Back to classwork and assignments for the kids. Back to the rigmarole of budgeting for parents. Two weeks to go before schools and colleges reopen and families are returning to the reality on how education puts a strain on their incomes. For most mums and dads, this is that time of the year when they juggle needs and wants that are in a state of permanent conflict. It starts with the rigours of finding the right school for their wards. Curriculum, fees, facilities, and teaching quality are the main criteria. No parent wants his or her child to be left out of the rat race and a substantial chunk of earnings are put aside towards schooling and college. The truth is this - education does not come cheap. It's a commitment most parents willingly make for their kids as they pursue academic happiness despite a load of surprises, setbacks and great sacrifice along the way. For those parents who cannot afford the rising costs, it can hurt. Yet, they do it with a smile, even if it drives them beneath a mountain of debt.

Modern education demands major 'investments', which comes down to planning, as financial advisers would put it, but we'll stick to 'commitment' and keep it emotional. There's a sense of duty to see our kids in high places. Let's say it's data driven and there are plenty of numbers to crunch before the child makes it past high school. But it does not end there. University beckons. The cycle is repeated before the student settles into a career. Numbers from a recent survey puts the cost of education in the UAE, from pre-school years till university, at almost Dh1 million. That's a figure that is rising. It may have slipped our minds, but the numbers tell a story that begins at home. Education is about families being involved for a better life for their kids, about families whose incomes don't meet expectations that the system demands, but striving, struggling and making it happen for the sake of their kids. They rework plans and tighten budgets, which could mean skipping that annual vacation. Like we said before, it's about households learning to cope.

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