The 2013-2014 academic year looks set to see continued healthy growth in the international schools market around the globe. According to ISC Research – the only organisation in the world that tracks the entire international schools market – as the new school year begins, there are currently 6,717 international schools employing over 315,000 staff meeting the learning needs of almost 3.4million students aged between 3 and 18 years of age.

The continued expansion of the international schools market remains consistent with the strong growth of the past five years and is predicted to stay that way for several years to come. In line with such an expanding market is an increasing presence of investors, developers and commercial organisations responding to the needs of the sector.

Currently, ISC Research is receiving particular interest for market data and analysis related to business development opportunities in Malaysia. The country is experiencing significant expansion opportunities since the recent release of government restrictions for local children to attend international schools. For future potential, ISC Research predicts that China will be a particularly exciting market over the next few years.

Chinese nationals are currently not permitted to attend foreign-owned international schools in China. However, as a result of China’s expanding middle class, an increasing number of parents are looking for ways to access an English-speaking education for their children to enable the best opportunities for higher education. In response to this demand, many Chinese developers are seeking to create schools that are Chinese owned and run, that cater to Chinese students, and that deliver learning (entirely or in part) in English. To provide visibility and credibility for these schools, many developers are establishing associations with prestigious foreign educational institutions, including some of the most prominent schools in the UK.

Nicholas Brummitt, Chairman of ISC Research explains this new development further: “Some of these schools will be bilingual, others will teach totally in English, some will be part Chinese curriculum and part international, others will follow an international curriculum (such as the International Baccalaureate) completely. The vast majority of the teaching staff will be fully qualified, skilled, expatriate English-speaking teachers. These Chinese international schools will be aiming to meet the huge demand for an English language education from the burgeoning Chinese middle class who want to see their children receive the best possible education in order to gain access to the top universities worldwide. This looks likely to be the future for many Chinese children.”

In addition to new market developments in Malaysia and China, the international schools market in the Middle East continues to boom. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai demand continues to exceed supply and Saudi Arabia is anticipated to see extensive growth this year.

ISC Research is part of the International School Consultancy Group and is the only organisation that supplies data and market analyses covering the world’s English-medium international schools; data that it has been tracking for over thirty years. The latest market updates plus individual school information, news, statistical overviews, and the ISC Country Reports are all available fromwww.iscresearch.com


Since 1978, ISC Research has included a school on its international schools database if it delivers a curriculum to any combination of infant, primary or secondary students, wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country. There are, of course, exceptions to this. American schools in the UK for example, British schools in America, and also schools in countries such as India, Pakistan and several in Africa where English is one of the official languages. Schools in these countries are included if they offer an international curriculum.

Anne Keeling

Media Relations

ISC Research

Skype me at Anne_Keeling


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