Fast forward for international education in Asia

Fuelled by growing demand from expatriate and local families, Asia’s international education provision is growing fast. We report on the latest developments.

Source: Malvern International College

International schools are poised for growth in East and Southeast Asia, according to a report released by ISC Research to coincide with March’s International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) conference in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.Southeast Asia dominates the list of countries with the greatest number of premium English-medium international schools in the greater East Asia region, according to the report.Indonesia is in third position with 190 international schools, followed by Thailand with 181, and Hong Kong with 177. Malaysia is close behind with 170. Next is Cambodia with 114, followed by Vietnam with 111, and Singapore with 110.China, with 567 international schools, still dominates the list of countries in the greater East Asia region. It has more than twice as many international schools as Japan, which came second with 257.IPSEF co-founder Rhona Greenhill says that the number of international schools in East Asia has grown from 828 in 2013 to 1,125 this year. Southeast Asia, which had 725 such schools in 2013, now has 1,008.“We see a lot of growth potential in this part of the world for private and international schools, mainly as a result of the continued growth of the economies in East and Southeast Asia,” says Ms Greenhill. “This is why we have gathered some of the world’s leading experts to present insights on the development prospects as well as challenges confronting the education sector in the region, to enable stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunities and hopefully mitigate the risks.”
Malvern International College
Currently, Malaysia leads Southeast Asia by number of students enrolled in international schools (71,589), followed by Thailand (64,928) and Singapore (63,789). Indonesia (57,402) and Vietnam (40,003) make up the top five.Across the Southeast Asia region, student enrolment in international schools has increased by 33.9 per cent in the last four years.
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Education: a key British export

Another sign of Southeast Asia’s expanding education provision is the number of UK boarding schools that have opened campuses in the region in recent years. Dulwich College, Harrow School and Wellington College all have schools in China. Shrewsbury School has campuses in Bangkok and Hong Kong.Most recently, Malvern College announced a plan to open its fifth international campus in September 2018. The new school, in Hong Kong, will launch with 380 students and ultimately cater for 960 aged from five to 18. It will follow the International Baccalaureate curriculum at both primary and secondary levels, and joins Malvern’s international campuses in Qingdao, Chengdu and Cairo.Around 10 per cent of students will be from Hong Kong; the others will come from the expatriate community.Said Fiona Murchie, who attended the new school’s recent launch in London, “With more people working overseas than ever before, the demand for high-quality British international schools has never been greater. And, with the commitment from world-class UK independent schools to continue expanding into popular relocation destinations, globally mobile families are in a strong position to take advantage of a British international education wherever their relocation or international assignment may take them.”Fiona Murchie added that access to international higher education was becoming increasingly important for families across the globe. Many were looking to a UK-curriculum-based education to help their children acquire the qualifications necessary for entry into the world’s top higher-education institutions, she said.
Malvern International College
Guest speaker at the launch was Dominic Sandbrook, one of Britain’s best-known freelance writers and historians, a regular contributor to the Daily Mail and the Sunday Times, and a former Malvern College student. He spoke of the college’s outward-looking approach and espousal of the values of openness and cultural exchange.Priscilla To, director-general of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, said, “The Hong Kong government has attached great importance to education, and our education system is now among the best in the world. Our students fared well in international assessments, particularly in mathematics, science and technology.“We are delighted that Malvern College is bringing its 150 years of experience in providing a quality and well-rounded education for local and expatriate families.”Antony Clark, headmaster of Malvern College UK, explained that the development of an international presence could be seen as a natural extension of the college’s long-established commitment to developing international-mindedness and educating students from diverse international and cultural backgrounds around the world.“In embarking on these overseas ventures,” Mr Clark said, “we are not only bringing our model of education to new markets, but also expanding our own horizons in a increasingly global world.”

For related news and features, visit our Education & Schools section.

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