Southeast Asia's fierce growth of private international schools
A student raises her hand in class. Source: Pelita International School.

Southeast Asian (SEA) nations collectively have the most number of premium, English-medium international schools in the East Asian region, according to International School Consultancy Group (ISC) Research’s latest report.

While China and Japan took the top and second spot with 567 and 257 international schools respectively, SEA countries dominated the rest of the table with 1,000 such schools altogether.

Among SEA nations, Indonesia topped the list with 190 international schools, followed by Thailand (181) and Malaysia (170).

“We see a lot of growth potential in this part of the world for private and international schools, mainly due to the continued growth of the economies in East and Southeast Asia,” International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) co-founder Rhona Greenhill said.

In East Asia, the international school sector grew by 32 percent, from 828 schools in 2013 to 1,125 this year.

SEA saw a higher growth of 39 percent, from 725 to 1,008 international schools over the same period.

The growth underscores the region’s continuing quest to develop and be on par with the rest of the world, according to Greenhill.

Here are the top 10 countries with the most number of premium, English-medium international schools in East Asia and SEA:

Rank Country No. of International Schools
1 China 567
2 Japan 257
3 Indonesia 190
4 Thailand 181
5 Hong Kong 177
6 Malaysia 170
7 Cambodia 114
8 Vietnam 111
9 Singapore 110
10 South Korea 93

Student Enrolment

Correspondingly, as the number of such schools increased in SEA, so did student enrolment.

Over the last four years, enrolment in international schools went up by 33.9 percent.

In SEA, Malaysia has the most number of students enrolled in international schools with 71,8598 pupils, followed by Thailand with 64,928 and Singapore with 63,789 students.

In East Asia, China tops the list with 232,424 students enrolled, followed by Hong Kong (79,853) and Japan (54,848).

ISC Research will present their latest data and trends for international school investment in East Asia and SEA at IPSEF’s education conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 22 to 24.

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