International school students considering a wider range of study abroad destinations

Two reports about to be released by ISC Research highlight that an increasing number of families from non-English-speaking countries are selecting education for their children in the language of English from the very earliest age to increase their success through higher education. Coupled with this, many parents throughout Asia are choosing Western-style schools that study towards Western qualifications for their children to prepare them well for university in the West.

Wealth and aspiration fuelling demand

The ISC Research 2018 Global Report on the world’s international schools market, published this month, will show that the number of schools delivering learning in the language of English (English-medium) and following an international curriculum has grown by 29% from September 2013 to September 2017 (and a staggering 255% since the year 2000). Even more significant is the number of students attending these schools which has increased by 33% over the same period (406% in the last 17 years). There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, “Globalisation has provided the stimulus for much of the development in the international schools market,” notes the report. “Massive investment by Western businesses, especially in Asian economies, has resulted in substantial growth in the number of highly skilled and well-paid expatriates. As a consequence, there has been a large rise in demand for international schooling from expatriate communities.”

Secondly, the report adds, “The rapid growth of many economies, especially in Asia, has generated a vast increase in the amount of individual wealth among local families in those countries. For example, 2017 reports suggest that there are around 1.6 million USD millionaires and nearly 650 USD billionaires residing in China. Many families have high aspirations for their children and want them to receive the best education, which usually means enrolling them abroad for their schooling or at international schools in their home countries, followed by undergraduate studies at Western universities. The scale of the increase in individual wealth has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of local families who can afford international school tuition fees, leading to a comparable increase in demand for places at international schools.”

The growth of the international schools sector, 2000–2017, with projections through 2027. Source: ISC Research

The growth of the international schools sector, 2000–2017, with projections through 2027. Source: ISC Research.


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