The international schools market by region – IDA featured in global white paper


IDA featured in global white paper

As of July 2022, there are now over 13,000 English-medium international schools around the world according to ISC Research data. Demand is continuing to climb for schools offering an international curriculum and learning ethos, creating new opportunities for further expansion of the market. A recent white paper by ISC Research explores the factors that differentiate international schools from other K-12 educational offerings and discusses how and why international schools are valued by parents.

International schools in an Indian context

The white paper explores regional trends within the international schools market and shares advice to education suppliers and consultants who may be seeking to build an international presence within a particular region.

To understand how the international schools market is viewed through different lenses, ISC Research spoke to a range of regional experts including

Aditya Gupta, CEO of India Didactics Association.

Aditya outlined how international curricula have started to gain momentum and are growing in popularity within India. He understands the increase in demand to be due to the greater flexibility offered within an international curriculum. “In general, international schools have better infrastructure capability, access to devices, focus on teacher training, and the capacity to implement solutions compared to Indian curriculum schools,” he said.

In the white paper, Aditya spoke about the growing respect for international schools within the country from parents, teachers and educators, emphasising how international schools are “amongst the most elite schools in India” and are becoming an aspiration for a lot of Indian students today. “Those parents who can afford the international school fees are willing to pay because of the perception that international schools offer better infrastructure along with quality, holistic education, exposure to practical implementation, experiential learning, and avenues for students to look to university admissions abroad,” he said.

A view on the edtech market from India

In the white paper, Aditya explained how the Indian curriculum is building a global presence which is opening doors for more of the country’s education suppliers. The increasing popularity of the Indian curriculum overseas has encouraged edtech companies to push boundaries and create innovative outcomes, moving away from a more standardised model and focus of trying to fit their products into the existing systems, Aditya said. “It’s a market in which the suppliers feel they can innovate because it offers opportunities to leverage change.”

How international schools differ in various regions

Experts from other regions of the world also contributed to the white paper.

“International schools in Africa are hubs of innovation”, said Dr Graham Carlini Watts, an international education consultant and Director of Professional Learning at the Association of International Schools in Africa. With the effective use of technology going forward, Graham believes that the nature of international schooling in Africa will change to enrich teaching and learning within the African context. “International schools in Africa are not looking to be a replica of a school elsewhere, they’re looking to be innovative and to develop a creative state of mind in students,” he said.

President of International School Services (ISS), Liz Duffy, explained how “the US has an extremely holistic pathway to higher education and in general, the US is not a very test-centred place”. As a result, US-oriented international schools are generally more mindful to “prepare students for different application systems which vary significantly, from the holistic US approach to the test-focused UK requirements”, said Liz.

Regional contexts provide development opportunities

Wellbeing has become a key talking point worldwide, inspiring breakthroughs within the education sector. Jonathan Viner, Founder of 10Digits, outlined how “wellbeing is a key part of Nordic edtech because student-centred learning and student equality is integral to the curriculum, and a fundamental part of education in the Nordic region.” He explained how wellbeing has, therefore, become an area of education where Nordic brands are building a reputation, as more companies are providing schools with the capability to measure wellbeing through edtech.

Julia Garvey, Deputy Director General at British Education Suppliers Association, shared how she now sees “more that unites than divides international schools and the domestic market” as a result of the pandemic. However, despite the similarities, Julia shared her advice for British suppliers looking to international schools for business potential. “The buying model across the global international schools market is very different to the British state and independent sectors. It is increasingly dominated by large school groups, or UK brands which have opened schools overseas,” she said.

The international schools market may be maturing in some areas of the world, but it remains a market experiencing many shifts. You can download a free copy of the ISC Research white paper here to find out more about the top differentiating factors and current regional trends within the international school market.


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