19 July 2017

ASIA: Increasing demand for places at International Schools

Following an analysis conducted by ISC Research, a new trend has been observed in Asia with regards to international schools.

An international school, according to ISC, is one established in a non-English speaking country and that uses a curriculum other than that of the home country as well as being taught either partially or fully in English.

While the expatriate market is shrinking in Asia following the slump in the Oil and Gas market, there has been a steady increase in demand for places at international schools in countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and India; and surprisingly this demand is coming from locals rather than expats.

Many international schools in the region are now being sustained by locals keen to send their children there in place of departing expatriate children. The reason for this increased demand from locals can be attributed to a desire for their children to obtain globally recognised qualifications coupled with the fact that they would have the opportunity to learn in English, helping them to develop better language skills from a younger age.


Due to India’s solid economic growth, an increasing number of families have more money to spend on education for their children. This has led to a rise of about 45% in the number of international schools in the country. There are now more than 270,000 students attending international schools in the country.

Private institutions are hoping to capitalise on this demand and it is expected that the number of international schools will only increase further in the years to come as enrolment for other types of private institutions decreases. 


As with India the number of international schools in Vietnam is also expected to increase if a draft policy comes into force. The draft policy aims to remove a cap on the number of local Vietnamese children which are allowed to enroll at international schools.


International schools in Malaysia have already seen a boom in their numbers since a cap similar to the one proposed for Vietnam was removed in 2012 allowing Malaysian children to attend international schools without limitation. Although most aim to get a balanced ratio of 50:50 for local and expatriate children the demand is clearly visible with the number of schools going from 108 to 170 in the past 5 years.

How does this affect the client?

This increase can benefit foreign nationals relocating to the Asia region with families by offering them more choice for their children’s education. This might increase interest in the region and hopefully contribute to more successful international assignments there.


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