More international schools seek accreditation to stay competitive - report
The British School of Beijing, Shunyi holds accreditation from governments and recognised education organisations. Source: The British School of Beijing, Shunyi/Facebook

As the international school market grows and becomes more competitive, an increasing number are seeking accreditation to distinguish themselves, a new report by  ISC Research has found.

There are 2,092 international schools that are currently accredited, representing 21.9 percent of the entire market, according to the report by the English-medium K12 international school market intelligence firm. At the same time, the number of international schools globally increased by 58.9 percent from 6,001 in 2010 to 9,538 today.

“With so much choice, it can be challenging for parents to select an international school for their child,” the report wrote.

“An increasing number of schools are seeking accreditation as a route to differentiation and
quality assurance. There is a range of accreditation options assessing different criteria and parents should take the time to understand what the accreditation means in order to make an informed choice.”

One such quality assurance system is The Council of British International Schools (COBIS), which serves as an alternative to the voluntary inspection scheme for British Schools Overseas (BSOs) conducted by the UK’s Department of Education.

COBIS represents their member schools’ leaders, governors, staff and students by providing quality assurance in member schools through The Patron’s Accreditation and Compliance, ie. a five-year school development, improvement and review cycle.

Other accreditation systems include the Council of International Schools’ International Accreditation, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC), as well as the International Baccalaureate and the Cambridge International Examination, to name a few.

Options abound for relocating families

Dubai hosts the highest number of international schools (306), followed by Shanghai (169) and Abu Dhabi (160).

“The sector of international schools accessible to Chinese nationals in China is expanding at pace with
international schools opening in a growing number of China’s cities,” the report explained.

Two Southeast Asian cities featured in the top 10 in terms of number of international schools available: Phnom Penh with 126 schools and Singapore with 122, a result the report claims is due to the improving economy in the region, increasing demand for alternative, quality education options from local families.

The next year is expected to see 104 new international schools due to open, according to ISC Research, with 17 opening in the UAE and 18 in China, including three in Hangzhou, two in Shenzhen and two in Shanghai.

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