Over the past few years the number of international schools around the world has increased. Whilst they are typically used by expats, local children are now attending as their parents understand the importance of learning English for the business environment.
With English being the most widely used second language in the world, many parents are paying the high fees of international schools. They believe that the education and qualifications on offer will enable their children to develop their careers further than if they were to attend a conventional local school.
Many parents want their children to receive English, US or International Baccalaureate qualifications so that they can attend universities abroad. Typically, this includes universities in Australia, Canada, the US and UK.
The International Schools Consultancy global report revealed that international schools are generating $48 billion in fees. This is based upon 5 million students, in around 9,500 schools with a grand total of 483,000 staff. Forbes has predicted the number of students to escalate towards 10 million by 2026 and for fees generated to be around $89 billion.
The International School landscape
60% of the world’s international school students are schooled in Asia and the continent also accounts for over half of all international schools. The demand from expats in South East Asia is low but local parents are making up the difference. Both Thailand and Singapore have seen significant growth in local students attending international schools.
The UAE has the highest number of international students in the Middle East, with student numbers set to hit 959,000 by 2022. Experts predict Saudi parents to start sending their children to international schools more and more.
The future of international schools
With the number of students enrolling in international schools increasing every academic year it is expected that there is little in the way of a ceiling on numbers. Whilst providing expat children, and now locals, with this style of education is beneficial, it comes at a high price. It is often overlooked that international schools are big business. Many experts fear that as more are built to keep up with increasing numbers of new students that the quality of education offered at these highly-regarded institutes could diminish.