Of the global schooling system (worth more than £20bn in entry fees alone), expats now have access to no more than a fifth of local places worldwide. What this equates to for the expat community is something of an unprecedented increase in education fees.
Whilst native children can expect to receive the affordable (usually free) education to which they’re fully entitled, the situation is substantially different for expats, who currently face something of an expensive affordability fight for entry into any local school, whether chosen personally or otherwise.
So, aside from fretting over actual place procurement, expats are now understandably fearful of the overall expense. Expat employers are also feeling the effects as many workers are now refusing assignments based on the certainty and security of their children’s overseas schooling.
International School Consultancy Group MD Nicholas Brummitt commented on the results of his latest, internationally conducted research that reflects the astonishing change and ongoing development within the expat arena:
“Globally there are insufficient places to satisfy demand from the increasing number of children, both expats and locals. Fees are rising across the board. Where demand cannot be met by existing schools, new international schools appear … The growing trend to send local children to international schools is based on the quality of teaching and learning that many of these schools provide, coupled with an understanding by local wealthier families of the value of an English-medium education.”
The UAE, Pakistan, China, India and Japan collectively host 54% of all international schools. There are now more teachers employed than ever before in the international schooling system, with almost 300,000 members of school staff available to serve over three million student learners.
The research suggests that if and when given the option, professionally-minded expats with one eye on their family orientated future could do worse than to head east, where a wider scope for schooling is on offer. As always, expert advice should always be sought to any such situation.