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International schools continue to make massive strides

Published on 31/08/2011

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.