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China's expanding international school options from freemexy's blog

The international-schools market in China is a segmented one, and severe restrictions are imposed on local children whose families wish them to attend foreign-owned schools. However, there is an increasing demand by Chinese families for Western-style education taught in the English language, and so different types of international school are emerging to cater specifically for these students.international schools in china
Understanding this segmentation is important for expatriate families when they are preparing for a move to China.
China’s international-school options

The international-schools market in China is relatively young. The latest data from ISC Research, which tracks developments in the world’s international-schools market, identifies 566 English-medium international schools in China. Most of these are located in Tier 1 cities, with 25 per cent in Beijing and 20 per cent in Shanghai. Many others are located in the provincial capitals, such as Shenzhen, Chengdu and Guangzhou. Not all these schools are for expatriates.
ISC Research’s market intelligence report for China states that the aspirations of Chinese families for an English-medium, internationally oriented education are fuelling demand. This is now driving the development of a new segment of international schools, including those that involve partnerships between a Chinese owner and a foreign school, and bilingual schools with an international focus on teaching and learning.
As China continues to grow, both in population and as a global leader, the importance of understanding Chinese culture and learning the Chinese language also continues to grow,” says an Australian parent of two children at 3e International School, in Beijing. “International schools in China are providing students with education incorporating both Western and Chinese academic and cultural understanding, to ensure students attain a well-rounded, global education.”
3e is a mid-sized school that supports student and family well-being. “All our students learn both English and Chinese, with equal emphasis placed on both languages throughout school,” says principal Amy Loveday-Hu. “Class sizes are small and teacher-to-student ratios high, to allow for optimal teacher-student interaction. Education of the whole child is a vital part of the 3e philosophy.”
IB World School Shanghai Community International School (SCIS) has three campuses in the city. “With over 58 nationalities represented on our campuses,” says marketing and communications manager Mun Yee Choo, “SCIS offers a truly international experience.”
SCIS Hongqiao (Grade 2 to Grade 12) and SCIS Pudong (nursery to Grade 12) offer US college admissions tests the Advanced Placement, the ACT and the SAT. Both campuses provide modern facilities, such as indoor swimming pools and multipurpose gyms. SCIS Hongqiao ECE (nursery to Grade 1) has tailored its curriculum with the ‘whole child’ in mind. Facilities include outdoor play centres and a junior running track.
Exploring the range of international schools

Four distinct types of international school are allowed by China’s Ministry of Education:
Schools for children of foreign workers (SCFW), colloquially known as ‘expat schools’, provide international education for the expatriate community and are also accessible to the children of Chinese families who have a foreign passport, and ethnic Chinese students migrating from other Asian countries. They are not allowed to enrol Chinese nationals.
Sino-foreign cooperative schools are joint ventures between a Chinese owner and a foreign education company or school. These are restricted to secondary and higher education. The foreign organisation typically provides the teaching and learning, while the Chinese partner provides the land and financial investment. Both expatriate and Chinese students can attend these schools.
Chinese-owned private schools are able to provide bilingual learning. An increasing number of Chinese/English bilingual private schools that have a distinctly international focus are opening. Many offer internationally recognised examinations and diplomas. These schools mostly serve Chinese students.
A few Chinese-owned public/state schools are now running an international stream as an option for high-school students.

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