• international schools
What is driving growth and change within the international schools market right now? By Sam Fraser

The world’s international schools market is growing, but it’s changing too. Let’s take a look at some of the key factors impacting this change:

  • Many governments in developing countries now recognise international schools as a route to improving K-12 education provision within their countries quickly and effectively. Some countries or cities have set standards for their international education provision, such as Dubai with its inclusive education policy framework.
  • Restrictions on the number of local children able to attend international schools are easing in some countries like Malaysia and Vietnam, but tightening in China, Japan and South Korea. This is impacting the types of schools that are being developed in different countries in order to cater to these requirements and opportunities.
  • Other catalysts for change right now include the increase in demand from expatriate professionals originating from Asia. Many of these are professional expatriates from countries such as India and South Korea who are replacing some Western expatriates.
  • The changing admissions demographic is resulting in an increased need for more affordable international schools, where school fees are more manageable within a parents own salary.
  • Nevertheless, there remains a demand for premium international schools. One area of that market we are seeing major growth is the number of British and US independent school brands that are opening an overseas campus. Many wealthy, aspirational parents want the very best of education brand and heritage which is why these schools are so popular.
  • A growing number of international schools are offering a bilingual learning model, where English is one of the languages of learning.
  • The biggest growth driver is the one that has fuelled the market for the last 20 years: the provision of learning in the language of English, working to qualifications that are globally recognised and valued by the world’s universities, as a result providing for many children the most reliable route to higher education and career prospects. The latest data from the OECD suggests that the number of students studying at a university outside their home country will grow from 4.5 million in 2012 to 8 million by 2025. International schools are now established as a major pathway provider supporting this growth.

According to the latest data from ISC Research, enrolment within the world’s international schools market has seen a compound annual growth rate of 6.8% since 2010. Tuition fee income has grown by 8.0% per annum during that same time.

Get in touch to find out about more trends on this market, including impact analysis, which collect and tracks all the data on the world’s English-medium K-12 international schools market.