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ISC Research: International Education for Chinese Children Continues to Expand

The demand for international education and learning in the language of English is expanding in many countries around the world, none more so than China. Such education is now accessible for children at English-speaking or bilingual private schools that offer an international curriculum (eg the International Baccalaureate) or a curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum (often the National Curriculum of England or an American style of curriculum), and with a decidedly international approach to teaching and learning. These schools, for children aged between 3 and 18, are called English-medium international schools.

ISC Research, which supplies the market data and intelligence on the world’s English-medium international schools, reports that student enrolment increased globally during the last twelve months, by 7% taking the total number of children now learning in international schools to 5.1 million.

The 2018 Global Report on the International Schools Market from ISC Research, which will be published in September, states there are now 9,605 international schools around the world; an increase in just one year of 6.3%. This growth of schools, and the demand for places at international schools, is occurring in several countries, most notably China.


The expansion of international schools in China

The growth of international schools in China over the past twelve months has almost entirely been in the sector of international schools accessible to Chinese children.

Unlike most countries around the world, the international schools market in China is very segmented as a result of government regulation. The international schools for local Chinese children are bilingual and have to follow the Chinese curriculum at compulsory education age, but do enable local children to develop their English language skills and follow a more Western style of pedagogy with the chance to sit international examinations at age 18.  Currently, the most popular qualification is America’s Advanced Placement which is recognised by most universities around the world.


According to the ISC Global Report, 348,000 children are currently enrolled in international schools in China and the results of a sample group of more than half of these suggest that around 57% of students are Chinese nationals.


An increasing number of China’s cities now have at least one international school accessible to local children and ISC Research is aware of 18 new international schools opening in China this academic year, including schools in Hangzhou, Huizhou, Foshan, Fuzhou, Wuxi, Qingdao, Xiamen and Wenzhou.


Richard Gaskell, Schools Director at ISC Research, says: “The increasing demand for international education by local families in China reflects a trend that we are seeing in a vast number of countries of the world. It is fuelled by increased wealth and parents’ aspirations to prepare their children in the best possible way to study at universities overseas, and for global careers. There is a very high level of investment interest in international education in many countries and we expect this trend to continue as economies improve.”


More information about the world’s English-medium international schools market, including future projects and investment potential, is available from ISC Research www.iscresearch.com 

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