Foreign Language Courses and Tuition Classes are the Most Popular Extracurricular Activities for Children 

Tweet: #Education still the focus of savings for parents in #AsiaPacific: #MasterCard survey

Singapore, 18 June, 2014 – Almost three-quarters of households in the Asia/Pacific region save money regularly for their children’s education, according to MasterCard’s survey on Consumer Purchasing Priorities – Education.

The research is based on a survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 with 7932 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 16 Asia/Pacific[1] countries who were asked questions about their education spending priorities. The survey findings are part of MasterCard’s suite of research into Consumer Purchasing Priorities in the Asia/Pacific region. The survey and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance.

 Thai households top the region with 95% claiming they save regularly for their children’s education, followed by Taiwan (82%), India (81%) and Singapore (80%). In contrast, about one-third of households in Australia (35%) and New Zealand (34%) set aside money regularly for the same purpose.

Key findings

  • Close to three-quarters of Asia/Pacific consumers save regularly for their children’s education and on average, this takes up 13% of their monthly household income. Across the region, Thai households are the biggest savers, setting aside 21% of their monthly household income, whereas New Zealand households save just 6%.
  • Close to two-thirds of households in Asia/Pacific spend money on extracurricular classes for their children: the majority of children in Thailand (51%), South Korea (46%), China (36%) and Taiwan (35%) are enrolled in foreign language classes, while children in markets such as Australia (40%) and New Zealand (41%) chose to take part in sports.
  • More than half of parents in India (55%) and Bangladesh (51%) are spending on tuition classes for their children, closely followed by Malaysia (47%), Myanmar (43%) and Singapore (40%).
  • Overall, just over a quarter of Asia/Pacific consumers intend to take up an educational course in the next year – highest in Thailand (53%), Malaysia (42%), South Korea (39%), China (38%), and Singapore (38%), and lowest in Indonesia (9%), Vietnam (10%), India (13%) and Japan (14%).
  • Across the Asia/Pacific region, the majority of parents (63%) plan for their children to attend universities locally; the two exceptions were parents in South Korea (56%) and China (55%), where more than half intend to send their children to a university abroad.

“Education has long been recognized as key to providing opportunities for upward mobility. Parents in the region clearly recognize this value and continue to invest more money in securing the best possible education for their children,” says Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard.

“Across most markets, heavy emphasis is also placed on extracurricular activities, be it on foreign language courses or tuition classes. This is a reflection of the increasingly competitive education systems, rising aspirations of families in the region, and also the recognition that children need a well-rounded education, which includes music, art and sports in order to excel.”

 Children’s Participation in Extracurricular Classes in Asia/Pacific

CPP Education table

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Index of Women’s AdvancementMasterCard Survey on Online Shopping, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the MasterCard 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 TravelDining & EntertainmentEducationMoney 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 and published by John Wiley & Sons.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA),, 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 @MasterCardNewsjoin the discussion on the Cashless Pioneers Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media contacts:

Georgette Tan, MasterCard, +65 6390 5971,
Samantha Yong, Weber Shandwick, +65 6825 8053,


[1] Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam