International schools continue to make massive strides

31st August 2011, Comments 3 comments

In a world dominated by economic depression, one market begins its new year bigger and stronger than ever before.

The international schools market ended the 2010-2011 academic year with the highest number of schools ever in existence and the greatest number of students ever attending. As for this new academic year, growth will continue.

According to ISC Research, by July of this year (2011) there were 5,833 international schools around the world teaching 2,859,008 students; a 6.2 percent increase in the overall number of schools during the academic year and an 11 percent increase in the number of students.  Eleven years ago, in the year 2000, there were just 2,584 international schools teaching 969,445 students.

Growth in the market over the past ten years has been significant and has remained healthy due to the fact that the demographics of the international student has changed. Whereas in 2000, the majority (80 percent) of international school children were expatriates, today 80 percent are children of wealthy local families and expat students make up just 20 percent of the intake.

Asia, including Western Asia (the Middle East) has seen the biggest growth in the past year with two thirds of all growth. The leading cities for international schools are Dubai with 175 schools, Doha with 101 international schools, Bangkok with 100 international schools and Karachi with 99. In Dubai alone, 143,661 students study in international schools taught by 11,453 English-speaking teachers, many from the UK, USA, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

As the 2011-12 academic year commences, 153 brand new international schools are already identified and many existing schools are reporting increased demand for places with a significant number expanding their capacity to cope with demand. ISC Research believes that this coming year will continue to be dominated by the race to keep up with demand, helping to build the market from its present value of GBP 16.8m (based on fee income alone) to a predicted market worth GBP 22.7m by 2016 and to  GBP 30.6m by 2021.

ISC Research is the only independent organisation dedicated to mapping the world's international schools and analysing developments in the market.

3 Comments To This Article

  • kevin bartlett posted:

    on 9th September 2011, 08:01:28 - Reply

    Interesting article. Shouldn't the figures at the end be in GBPb, not m?
  • ibc24 posted:

    on 2nd September 2011, 20:11:57 - Reply

    I agree that the demand for English language education is also growing as that language continues to strengthen its hold on international commerce. Perhaps it is not so long until English becomes the international language of education.Perhaps it is not so long until English becomes the international language of education. Even so, by personal experience, when we arrived in Belgium in 1997, the International Schools available were situated only in specific areas/ cities where there is a large number of expat communities for which there is still a big demand for such schools, yet the costs per year per child at international schools are at an extreme cost, which most likely the tuition would be included as part of a relocation package within International Companies. In our case this did not apply and we could only support the primary years of education for our daughter for which we had no choice but to inscribe her in the Dutch school system in Belgium. The transition was traumatic to say the least in the beginning, until with the help of a "logopedist" or "tutor", she was able to understand and excell eventually in her studies. The need to have accessible schools around the world who provide English education has become more and more in demand since then, now there are discussing and suggesting in Belgium that English would be taught officially in all Flemish schools in the years to come. We already acknowledge English as "The Business Language in the World", I believe this would provide children with an advantage now and in the future. I thank you, Matt for your very eloquent comment on this article; let's hope it is view in a positive way and the education system to take this information into consideration as International Schools are in demand but at a very high cost.
  • Matt posted:

    on 1st September 2011, 15:11:51 - Reply

    These results are also suggesting that the demand for English language education is also growing as that langauge continues to strengthen its hold on international commerce. Perhaps it is not so long until English becomes the international language of education.

    One comment on the Dutch market is important and that is the access to international schools for local Dutch people. The international schools in the Netherlands (at least the publicaly funded ones, not the private schools) continue to maintain a policy that local Dutch people have to justify why they want an international/English education. Many fail to do so and are pushed into Dutch school against their wishes. Result: only wealthy people can get their kids an international/English education. These poorer Dutch people are already ata disadvantage on teh global market due to their lower wealth, why are they suffering double discrimination by being prohibited from English language education (that they nonetheless subsidize with their tax money)? If international/English education is so in demand, then the Netherlands should face reality and embrace that model. If they could just avoid the xenophobia, the Netherlands could be a global powerhouse!