1. Where Will You Find the Greatest Choice of International Schools?

Where Will You Find the Greatest Choice of International Schools?

Published on 26 Mar 2015
General Article

There are now 22 countries in the world with over 100 English-medium international schools. This means that for expatriate and local families, opportunities for their children to follow an English-medium education and to learn through an internationally-recognised curriculum are becoming increasingly accessible. This latest data is provided by ISC Research (part of the International School Consultancy), the leading provider of data and market intelligence on the world’s English-medium international schools market.

The UAE leads the world with 505 international schools teaching over 452,000 students. 245 schools in the UAE are located in Dubai alone. Here the options are extensive although competition for the best schools remains high. The National Curriculum of England is the most popular curriculum option and is offered in half of all international schools in the UAE.

China has 480 international schools. For such a vast country, this may seem a relatively low number. A large part of the reason for this is that most of China's early international schools are foreign-owned and, with few exceptions, are not allowed to enrol local children.  However, there is a rapidly increasing demand from Chinese parents for English-medium education for their children, and the international schools landscape in China is changing in response to this demand.  The number of Chinese-owned international schools is growing fast and, crucially, local children are allowed to attend these schools.

Elsewhere, India, Pakistan, Japan, Spain and Saudi Arabia all have over 200 international schools offering all or part of the curriculum in English.


Countries with over 100 international schools include Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia in Southeast Asia; Qatar in the Middle East; Hong Kong in East Asia; Mexico, Brazil and Argentina in South America; Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, France and Switzerland in Europe; and Nigeria and Egypt in Africa.

“All of these countries are experiencing significant demand for international school places,” says Nicholas Brummitt, Chairman of the International School Consultancy (ISC), the leading provider of research about the world’s international schools. “Most of this demand is coming from local families who want a high quality, English-medium education for their children so that they can achieve a place at a respected English-medium university. As incomes rise, and as more English-medium international schools establish and become accessible, so such an option becomes a possibility for an increasing number of local families. The international schools market is currently an ever-expanding cycle of demand and supply, and this will remain so if international schools continue to deliver high quality, internationally-recognized, English-medium curricula, examinations, learning and teaching.”

In total, as of January 2015, there were 7,545 international schools around the world teaching over 3.9 million students. 80% of all international school students are local children. Within five years, ISC forecasts there will be over 5.5 million students globally studying in English-medium international schools.

Data and research services dedicated to the English-medium international schools market are available from ISC including research reports and an online licence providing market information, school data, search facilities and contact options. For more information visit www.iscresearch.com


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