The demand for international schools has been steadily increasing for the last forty years. According to a recent report by ISC Research, the number of international schools worldwide increased from 8,700 in January 2013 to 13,190 in January 2023. The reasons behind the growth are varied, but some of the primary drivers include globalisation, increased mobility of students and families, and a growing demand for high-quality education.
According to data taken from ISC Research Whitepaper: Why more international schools keep opening, February 2023: Asia as a total region currently represents 57% of the entire market for the number of international schools, in comparison, Europe represents 18%.
With the world becoming more interconnected, international schools have emerged as a way for parents to ensure their children receive an education that is recognised globally. International schools tend to follow recognised curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) programs, that are well respected and valued by universities and employers around the world. This means that students who attend international schools can continue their education, or entry to the workplace, seamlessly, no matter where they are in the world.
Another reason for the growth of international schools is the increasing mobility of students and families. With the rise of expatriate communities and the ease of international travel, many families are choosing to live and work overseas. International schools provide an opportunity for these families to ensure their children receive an education that is consistent with their home country’s curriculum and standards. Conversely, there is also a desire by more young people to study for higher education, which will take them beyond their home country.
Many parents are willing to pay a premium for high-quality education. In many countries across Asia, international schools are often seen as a priority investment for families that can afford private schooling. The schools often offer smaller class sizes that allow for differentiated and individualised attention for students, and more resources than local schools. Furthermore, international schools are often staffed by highly qualified and experienced teachers who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the classroom.
What does this mean for international teachers?
For qualified teachers who want to work overseas, the growth of international schools presents many opportunities. International schools are always in need of qualified and experienced teachers, particularly those who are fluent in English and have experience teaching international curricula.
However, the process of finding a job in an international school can be challenging, and there are several factors that teachers should consider before pursuing this career path. Firstly, it is important to note that competition for jobs in international schools can be intense, and schools often receive hundreds of applications for each position. Therefore, it is essential for teachers to have a strong resume and cover letter that highlights their experience and qualifications.
In addition to the competition, teachers also need to consider the potential challenges of working in an international school. For example, teachers may need to adapt to different teaching styles and cultural norms, they may need to be flexible and willing to adapt to different curricula and teaching methods, as international schools may follow different educational systems than those in their home country. Furthermore, teachers should consider how they would feel being away from their immediate support network. A good international school, will go to great lengths to help new teachers settle in and establish connections within the community, but inevitably there will come a point when they miss home, so it is important to feel prepared for that too.
Despite these challenges, there are many benefits to working in an international school. For example, teachers have the opportunity to work with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures, which can be highly rewarding. Furthermore, teachers in international schools often have access to more resources and technology than they would in local schools, which can help them become more effective educators. Additionally, teachers in international schools often receive competitive salaries and benefits packages, which can make a move overseas financially attractive.
It is important to remember that whilst there is a growing number of international schools offering opportunities to teach abroad, not all international schools are created equal. There are many factors that can influence the quality of education and the working environment at an international school. When considering job opportunities, there are several things that applicants should look out for to ensure that they are applying to reputable and high-quality schools. These include things like the school’s reputation, teacher turnover rates, resources and facilities, curriculum and teaching methods.