Nairobi has emerged as the most expensive city in Africa for elite schools with fees hitting a Sh2.89 million ($28,479) high per year on the back of growing demand for international education, a newly-released report shows.
The analysis by International Schools Database shows that out of the six African cities surveyed, Kenya’s capital had the highest average fee as well as the most expensive fees charged, rivalled only by Cairo.
“This isn’t entirely surprising, since there is a high demand for international education in Kenya,” notes the report.
The trend also signals that Kenyan parents are increasingly embracing international education to give their children a better chance at upward mobility and set them up for admissions to top universities abroad.
Cairo, Egypt’s capital rivals Nairobi for most expensive prices with its maximum price for international education just under the $25,000 (about Sh2.6 million) mark, making it the second highest of the African cities surveyed.
The average fee for Nairobi’s schools, however, dropped to Sh733,394 compared to Sh902,000 last year. Cairo came in second at an average Sh606,253 while neighbouring Kampala was fourth at Sh495,056.
The minimum fees charged in Nairobi sat at Sh272,864 per annum with Kampala having the cheapest international schools charging a minimum Sh53,110 per annum.
Overall, Cape Town offers the cheapest median prices for international schools in Africa.
Nairobi’s high fees have seen institutions charge more on average than European cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen. South Africa’s Johannesburg and Cape Town have the most affordable international schools globally.
The International Schools Database uses the whole price of a full term for one 6-year old child, excluding once-off costs such as enrolment fees and application fees to calculate the cost.
Increased demand has attracted new players to Kenya’s lucrative private education segment, including Nova Pioneer and Sabis International School that is partly owned by Centum Investment Company Plc.
The high returns in the sector have also led to increased interest from investment firms.
Private equity firm Fanisi Capital has signed an agreement to sell Hillcrest International Schools to Dubai-based GEMS Education for Sh2.6 billion, marking the latest deal in the high-end private education industry.
This was following a deal between a consortium led by PE firm AfricInvest sold Brookhouse School to UK-based PE fund Educas for Sh3.6 billion in 2015, making it one of the biggest transactions in Kenya’s high-end education sector.