International schools in Thailand are booming – here’s why

International schools in Thailand
International schools in Thailand are seeing substantial growth over the past decade. Source: Shutterstock

China, India, Malaysia and Singapore are known to be strong international school markets in Asia, but international schools in Thailand have also been growing steadily over the years.

According to Eleven Myanmar, nearly 60,000 foreign students are studying in 175 international schools. A decade ago there were not even 100 international schools in Thailand.

Anne Keeling, Editor of the International School Leader Magazine, wrote on TIE Online, “The country is experiencing an expansion among mid-price sector English-medium international schools, which charge annual fees of between US$5,000–$9,000 for the primary years, and US$7,200–$14,699 for secondary.

“Thailand has also seen an uptick in premium schools, including some associated with independent school brands. The prestigious British independent school King’s College Wimbledon recently announced it will be opening a new school in Bangkok in 2020.”

So what is leading to this substantial growth in the country? There are a few factors.

More local students enrolling in international schools in Thailand

As is the case of many developing countries in Asia, such as Malaysia, China and Singapore, more local families now can afford to send their children to international schools.

Many are doing so because they believe international schools equip their children with the right skills for overseas study, as well as the chance to work or settle down abroad.

The student-centered learning approach and Westernised curricula typically adopted by international schools and the chance for their children to get personalised attention in smaller classrooms are also factors.

As the national education system struggles to meet the current educational needs of society today, international schools in Thailand are a more attractive option to those who can afford the fees.

Approximately 46 percent of all students attending Thailand’s international schools are Thai nationals, according to Keeling.

Growth of Asian expatriate families leading to more quality schools

In the past, expatriates were typically from Western countries. Today, there are more and more Asian expatriates as global economies become stronger and more people are working abroad.

Bangkok, a major financial hub in the country, has attracted many Asian expat families from countries such as Japan,China, India and South Korea.

With more supply comes increased demand. Seeing the vast opportunity for international schools in Thailand, more quality international schools have opened up in Bangkok in recent years.

Keeling wrote, “With 49 premium international schools out of a total 118 in the city, Bangkok is positioned as one of the top five sites in the world for quality international schooling, alongside Dubai, Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo.

“The quality of international schools in Bangkok is extremely high, particularly in the premium international school sector.

“According to ISC Research, which produces this data, these schools usually charge the highest fees but are generally the most respected, as they are often accredited and recognized by leading international school associations.”

The stability and location of the country

international schools in Thailand

Bangkok has some of the best international schools in Thailand. Source: Shutterstock

Thailand, located in Southeast Asia, has a tropical climate and is an attractive location for expatriate families.

It’s also a peaceful nation, showing stability and relative growth in its development. According to Toryos Pandejpong, Board Director at Denla British School (DBS), “Another reason why international schools are attractive is because foreigners have confidence in Thailand’s strength and stability and that’s why they send their children to our country to study.

“At DBS, we have foreign students from the UK, Australia, Portugal, USA, Canada, France, India, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc.

“We have received increasing calls from parents living in places with an unstable situation. We recently received 30 per cent more calls from Hong Kong and also from Chinese parents. We have a suitable curriculum and experienced native teachers. Our facilities, which are fully equipped with technologies, are recognised as being the best among British schools here.”

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