Asia is the fastest growing market, boasting 3,837 international schools teaching 2,200,000 students and generating US$ 18,908 million of the world’s total fee income. Europe has also grown to host 1,530 international schools.
Asia is the fastest growing market, with 3,837 international schools teaching 2,200,000 students
Notable growth countries are UAE, which has 439 international schools, China with 421 schools, Hong Kong with 176 schools and Qatar with 130 schools. Future growth is predicted in East Asia, Gulf countries and also South America.
Chairman of ISC Nicholas Brummitt told The PIE News: “The growth of international schools in most countries is largely being driven by the richest 5% of non-English-speaking parents who are looking for places for their children at international schools in their home countries.”
“This is based upon the wide acceptance that a student who attends an international school, with its English-speaking education and typically high standards of teaching, has access to a much wider choice of higher education including universities all over the world, particularly in the US and UK,” explained Brummitt.
Expat communities continue to drive a high proportion of the demand and the top expatriate student nationalities studying at premium leading international schools across the world are American, British, Indian, South Korean and Chinese.
Top local student nationalities studying at the premium leading international schools around the world are Thai, Kuwaiti, Mexican, Emirati and Spanish.
While the rate of growth is impressive, the report also warns that the international schools market will increasingly be subject to government regulation regarding standards. Accreditation by at least one specified agency is already mandatory in some markets including China, Dubai and Qatar.
The ability to recruit IB-qualified or UK and USA curriculum-qualified Anglophone teachers prepared to move away from their home countries is becoming tougher
“The future will not only be about growth of international schools, but also maintenance of high standards,” confirmed Brummitt.
Government restrictions likely to affect the development of the international school market include limits on enrolment of local children, control over tuition fees, staff employment legislation, land and planning constraints and ownership of schools.
“When such restrictions are amended, market changes can often be significant as we’ve witnessed recently in Malaysia,” revealed Brummitt.
As the demand continues to grow, the ability to recruit IB-qualified or UK and USA curriculum-qualified Anglophone teachers prepared to move away from their home countries is becoming tougher, with many international schools offering higher salaries and incentives than teachers could earn in their home countries.
Another trend that has emerged from the report is the emergence of bilingual schools and international streams within national schools being formed.
ISC currently has 220 future schools in its system that are either in planning stages or under construction, and it predicts that within five years there will be over five million students studying at international schools across the globe.