International schools hike school fees for expat children

Published:  26 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Hong Kong, Dubai
International expats are facing huge increases in their children’s international school fees due to a rise in demand from wealthy local parents.

Over 80 per cent of places at sought-after international schools are being filled by the children of local wealthy families, resulting in soaring increases in fees. According to a recent survey by ISC research, an arm of the International School Consultancy Group, (ISCG) the trend shows a complete reversal from 30 years ago, when expat children filled the majority of places.

For many expats transferred abroad by their companies, an even larger challenge is actually getting their children into an international school within their new location. ISCG managing director Nicholas Brummit said that globally there are far too few places available to meet the increased demand from both local and expat parents.

He added that, even although fees are rising in every country, demand is so strong that new schools are being opened to satisfy the rising numbers. Dubai, Hong Kong, Doha and Abu Dhabi are all under huge pressure for places at reputable international schools, with many expats only accepting transfers or new positions after they have ensured places for their children.

According to Brummitt, the trend towards international school education for local children is he result of the higher quality of education provided and the recognised value amongst wealthier families of English-medium schooling. Brummitt stated that, based on the income from fees alone, the current value of the market is some £20.4 billion.

The strength of international school education in Asia and the Middle East is based on learning by critical thinking rather then by rote, the traditional manner in non-Western countries. Parents see this as giving their children a greater chance of places at top Western universities, thus fuelling the demand for places for local children.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Allison wrote 7 years ago:

This isn't true for all schools. There are many out there that have in the mission to serve the expat community and cap the number of local students that are accepted. And yes, tuition is high, but so is the cost of running an American/British/European curriculum school in a foreign country with no other source of income.

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