fbpx
Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
5th Sep 2018

Annual survey finds continued growth in international schools

The latest edition of an annual global study reveals ongoing growth in the international schools sector, both in terms of the number of schools and with respect to enrolment. The 2018 Global Report on the International Schools Market from ISC Research counts a total of 9,605 English-medium international schools worldwide. This represents a year-over-year increase of 6.3%, and contributes to a compound annual growth rate of nearly 6% over the last five years. ISC defines the segment as follows, “These schools, for children aged between 3 and 18, offer an international curriculum or a curriculum other than the country’s national curriculum (often the National Curriculum of England or an American style of curriculum). Most are entirely English-speaking, others are bilingual with English as one of the main languages of learning.” The locations with the greatest number of international schools are summarised in the chart below, with Dubai and its 306 leading the way (followed at some distance by Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, and Beijing – each with between 140 and 170 schools). the-nine-leading-global-centres-by-number-of-international-schools-hosted-2017-18 The nine leading global centres by number of international schools hosted, 2017/18. Source: ISC Research Looking ahead, ISC is already tracking another 104 new school openings planned for the 2018/19 school year.

Enrolment growth

Along with an expanding field of school choice, the number of students enrolled in international schools has also continued to grow this year. ISC reports 7% growth in enrolment year-over-year, taking the total student population to 5.1 million worldwide (on a compound annual growth rate of just under 7% over the past five years). As the following chart reflects, roughly a third of this total enrolment is concentrated in four markets: the UAE, China, Saudi Arabia, and India. leading-international-school-locations-by-enrolment-2017-18 Leading international school locations by enrolment, 2017/18. Source: ISC Research This volume of enrolment translates to roughly US$49 billion in direct tuition revenues and supports a global workforce of 467,000 teaching staff. “This continuing demand for international education reflects a trend that we are seeing in a vast number of countries,” says ISC Schools Director Richard Gaskell. “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 careers that can take them around the world. 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.” Looking ahead, ISC projects continued strong growth for the sector over the next decade, with all top-level indicators – including number of schools, enrolment, revenue, and employment – all expected to exhibit significant further growth through 2028. By that point, the research consultancy forecasts the total number of schools worldwide will exceed 16,000, global enrolment will approach ten million students, and combined sector revenues will reach US$95 billion.

Indicator for global mobility

The significance of this continuing rapid expansion of international schools extends well beyond the sector itself. As ISC puts it, “Approximately 20% of [international school] students are the children of expatriate families who are seeking a school offering the language of learning and curriculum from their home country. However, the vast majority of international school students today are the children of local families choosing, what they consider to be, the best possible education close to home to prepare their child for university overseas and global careers.” Thus, the growing population of students in the sector also represents an important – and expanding – pool of well-qualified applicants for higher education institutions abroad. For additional background, please see:

Most Recent

  • UK confirms Graduate Route will remain in place; plans “crackdown” on student visas and “rogue agents” Read More
  • Will the US host 2 million international students within the decade? Read More
  • Ghanaian students are intent on study abroad but currency woes present a challenge Read More

Most Popular

  • Canada’s foreign enrolment grew by more than 30% in 2022 Read More
  • Measuring cost of study and cost of living across study destinations Read More
  • Recruiting in the Emirates: Big goals, world-class education, and new scholarships Read More

Because you found this article interesting

UK confirms Graduate Route will remain in place; plans “crackdown” on student visas and “rogue agents” Ahead of a snap general election called for 4 July 2024, and after months of speculation, a joint...
Read more
Will the US host 2 million international students within the decade? A new analysis from international research firm HolonIQ sets out four future growth scenarios for foreign enrolment in...
Read more
Ghanaian students are intent on study abroad but currency woes present a challenge Ghana’s ascent as a key emerging student market is well illustrated by recent enrolment growth in leading destinations....
Read more
UK ELT posts another year of growth to reach 75% of pre-pandemic volumes in 2023 The UK’s English Language Teaching (ELT) sector continued its post-pandemic recovery last year, enrolling more students and delivering...
Read more
Survey of Japanese agents indicates significant recovery in outbound student numbers for 2023 The annual survey of The Japan Association of Overseas Studies (JAOS) has just been released. This year’s survey...
Read more
Data shows a decline in Nigerian student searches for study abroad; UK may be hardest-hit Nigeria has been one of the most important new sources of students for leading study destinations worldwide in...
Read more
ICEF Podcast: How policy interventions are impacting student planning for study abroad Listen in as ICEF’s Craig Riggs and Martijn van de Veen check in on how foreign exchange trends...
Read more
EU sets goal of sending at least 23% of university students and 12% of VET students abroad by 2030 Erasmus+, already the world’s largest student mobility programme, will play a significant role in a new goal set...
Read more
What are you looking for?
Quick Links