As a parent, you want the best for your child. You want them to have the best opportunities in life in order for them to get ahead. And you understand that providing a good education for your child is the only way to keep them ready for those opportunities.
In Kenya, education has been hailed as the only ticket to a bright future. A good education will open doors that could otherwise be closed for your child. Education will empower them to be self-reliant individuals and be respectable members of society.
That’s why you should plan accordingly. You will need to create a long term plan that will see you give the best education to your child, from kindergarten to university.
So how will you educate your child, and how do you start the planning process? This article dives into that and gives you a step-by-step approach to planning for your child’s education.
Specify the period your child will be in school. How long your child’s education takes can be defined by different factors. These factors can mainly be determined by the education system you want to put your child through.
The current education system in Kenya is The Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC.) It is a 2-6-3-3-3 education cycle. If you take your child through this system, the timeframe from early childhood education to the university level will be 17 years.
The CBC is the national education system in Kenya, but you can choose to take your child through a different system. There are international schools in Kenya which offer British, American, Dutch and German education curricula in Kenya. The international curriculum you choose will determine how long your child will be in school.
Once you know how long the child will spend getting an education, you will know when you are supposed to start saving and how long you will be saving for.
This step is the most crucial when planning for your child’s education. Educating your child is investing in their future; you, therefore, shouldn't be parsimonious with your money. When calculating how much you will need to educate your child, there are several factors to consider.
Some of the factors are:
The cost will hugely be dependent on the choice you make here. Public schools in Kenya are generally cheaper. Private schools that follow the CBC curriculum are pricey but not as pricey as the schools that offer an international curriculum. Higher education is expensive, but the government offers student loans (HELB). You should plan which strategy works best for you here.
Schools in Kenyan cities are more prestigious and hence pricey. You might also choose to educate your child abroad. This will be more costly.
The cost of education can also be determined by the path your child decides to take. So take this into consideration. Different courses cost different amounts. For instance, a BSc (Engineering) will cost more than a Diploma In Nursing.
You should also factor in the rising cost of education and inflation rates in your approach. For instance, Kenya's inflation rate stood at 6.47% in April 2022, while tuition fees at universities doubled over the last two years.
You give yourself a head start when you start planning your savings and investments early. For example, you can open a high yield savings account for your child and contribute to it monthly. This is a long term process, and you will need to be committed to it and make sure you meet your savings target every month.
When it comes to investments, they should be long term, low risk and have high returns. Such long term and low-risk investments can be in the form of buying treasury bonds, investing in Collective Investment Schemes (also known as Unit Trust Fund) and investing in real estate. Also, make sure your investments are well-diversified.
The investments should have high returns to cushion you from the rising inflation rates.
Also read: Fun Ways To Teach Your Children About Money
Insurance is one factor you can’t afford to forget when planning for your child's education. We will look at three must-have insurance policies that will help both the parents and the child. These policies are:
Life Insurance: The death of parents is the number one cause of child poverty in Kenya, and it can be catastrophic for a child's future. When the breadwinner of a family dies, the dreams and inspirations of a child are interfered with. With a life insurance policy, in case of your death, your insurer will pay your beneficiaries the assured amount. This money can be used to educate your child.
Health Insurance: According to a 2021 FinAccess Survey report by the Central Bank of Kenya, medical bills are driving millions of Kenyans into poverty. Experts advise that having a comprehensive health insurance policy can help mitigate this.
Also read: Money and Me: Insurance, a True Life Saver.
Without such a policy, if you or your child develops a serious health condition that is expensive to treat, you might be forced to dig into the savings and investments meant for education. This will set you back and ruin your plan to give your child a good education.
Education Insurance: This is one of the safest and easiest ways of creating an education fund for your child. This policy allows you to save towards your child's education fund, and your savings are protected.
According to the plans and goals you have for your child, an insurer will advise you on the type of policy you’ll need, how much you will contribute monthly and the maturity value. A lot of insurers in Kenya will create a policy that's best tailored for your needs and budget.
Everyone needs an emergency fund. You can’t always plan the future to perfection. That's why you need contingencies in place if things start going out of plan. In your approach to planning for your child’s education, you should be prepared for emergencies when they arise.
These emergencies can come in different forms. They can range from unexpected costs, your investments failing, to your child not cooperating with your plans. As your child grows, they will develop a mind of their own and start making decisions independently.
Poor academic performance or other unforeseen challenges along the way could force your child to repeat some classes, which will increase their education timeframe and cost you more money. Your child might, for example, choose not to pursue post-secondary education. You should know what to do in such a scenario.
Being prepared will help you not lose sight of your plan to give your child a good education.
As a parent, it is highly unlikely that you can feel successful until you have set your child on a path that will lead them to success.
The approach you take when planning their education is what will determine the value of the education they will receive and, ultimately, the future they will have. You want the best for your child and understand that giving them the best education is your first priority.
Remember you’ll need to start early. Follow the approach proposed above and plan your child's education well.