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Expect changes in international schools following coronavirus. By Diane Glass

In a webinar this week, two of our leading field researchers based in East and South East Asia gave some insights into how international schools might change as a result of the coronavirus. Sam Fraser focuses much of his research time on the international schools throughout South East Asia, and Stephanie Quayle researches the schools in China.

Sam said that, in many respects, it is too early to tell where the international schools market will be in six months’ time, but he offered some important points to consider:

  • Some international schools envisage an enrolment drop for at least the first 12 months, mostly from expatriate children unable to return.
  • Parents may be more inclined to source mid-market priced international schools for their children as price-point is likely to be more of a concern because of the impact on jobs and economies.
  • However, parents will always want the highest level of education attainable and therefore, those who can, will still source premium opportunities.
  • Relationships between many international schools have developed very well during the pandemic as they have been sharing good practice, challenges, solutions and findings widely. As a result, international schools may well be more open to sharing and collaborating with other schools after coronavirus. This may create many new opportunities for suppliers and providers.
  • Parents will likely pay closer attention to a school’s risk assessments and strategies, and will want to understand how well schools have coped including what distance learning provision was offered and what platforms were used. This will also be an important factor for school marketing and admissions over the next few years. 
  • School trips overseas are likely to take a hit for several reasons and so schools are going to have to be creative with their approach to outdoor and experiential learning which could open up some new opportunities for creative suppliers, such as those able to offer virtual reality solutions.

Stephanie shared an important consideration for the international schools market: “When I read news stories these days, there is a lot of doom and gloom; most people are talking about a decline in demand for their business or industry and I think it is true that we might see fewer expats in China,” she said. However, Stephanie believes that many families who currently send their children to boarding school overseas may want them closer to home instead. “What I think we might see is a big repatriation of Chinese pupils who are currently studying overseas, and they will be looking at the international and private schools in China now instead. There could actually be a significant growth in the demand for pupil places from Chinese families who already have had a western educational experience,” she explained.


You can access the full 45 minute webinar here: How international schools in East and South East Asia are responding to the implications of coronavirus


More information about how the world’s international schools market is managing and responding to the impact of COVID-19 is available from ISC Research. Do get in touch if we can help you diane.glass@iscresearch.com