Information for Members

Analyzing the School Profiles on International School Community

November 7, 2016

Using the School Profile Search feature on the main homepage of International School Community, we found the following stats about the 1948 international schools currently listed on our website.  (Updated from our September 2015 statistics – 101 more schools!)

school profile

Total Schools with Comments: 922
Asia: 51
Caribbean: 22
Central America: 29
East Asia: 177
Eastern Europe: 52
Middle East: 127
North Africa: 35
North America: 40
Oceania: 5
SE Asia: 136
South America: 59
Sub-Saharan Africa: 58
Western Europe: 131

(East Asia has the most school profiles that have had comments submitted on them. 2nd place is almost a three-way tie with Western Europe, SE Asia and Middle East.)

Age of School:
Schools more than 51 years old: 427 ( 34)
Schools from 16-50 years old: 722 ( 33)
Schools from 0-15 years old: 799 ( 34)

(Our school database continues to grow!  We have increased around 30 some schools in all age categories.)

School Curriculum:
UK curriculum: 680 ( 50)
USA curriculum: 700 ( 68)
DP curriculum: 573 ( 23)

(The UK and USA curricula school continue to dominate our website.  On the other hand the DP schools represented on our website are becoming almost equal to those two.)

School Nature:
For-profit schools: 887 ( 93)
Non-profit schools: 1061 ( 8)

(Non-profit schools are still in the lead for international schools represented on International School Community.  For-profit schools are still on the increase though!)

School Region:
Schools in East Asia: 267 ( 18)
Schools in South America: 93 (same)
Schools in Middle East: 261 ( 9)
Schools in Western Europe: 285 ( 13)
Schools in SE Asia: 291 ( 16)

(The winner is now SE Asia, but East Asia, Western Europe and Middle East schools are creeping up. It seems as if there are limited options really if you would like to work at an international school in South America as there just aren’t that many international schools there.)

Number of Students:
Less than 300: 962 ( 64)
300-700: 486 ( 18)
700-1200: 258 ( 6)
More than 1200: 242 ( 13)

(There appears to be more international schools with very small student bodies.)

Feel free to make your own searches based on your criteria on International School Community.  You can search using up to eight different criteria (Region of the world, curriculum, school nature, number of students, country, age of school, metro population and kinds of student).  Members with premium membership are able to do unlimited searches on our website.  If you are already a member, you can easily renew your subscription on your profile page.  If you are not a member, become a member today!

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Highlighted Articles

Approaches to Arabic at IB International Schools in the Middle East

November 24, 2015

As a head of school I recognise the importance of Arabic language and culture in education working within the Arabic world.

I also recognise the fabulous wealth of opportunities and experiences afforded from the privilege of being a guest, in this intriguing and fascinating part of the world. A very welcome guest I feel too, from the enormous hospitality offered to expatriate visitors and residents.

I have led three IB schools integrating the Arabic Language in very different ways.

In Oman, Arabic was the mother tongue of the vast majority of students and around fifty percent of the teachers. We delivered a bilingual curriculum and all communication to staff and parents was delivered in both English and Arabic, all signage in the school was in both languages and the architecture of the school was a delightful Arabic design.

Arabic students

In Saudi Arabia, again, the students’ mother tongue was Arabic and part of the curriculum was delivered in Arabic. The IB coordinators in the school were bilingual as were a significant percentage of staff.

In Dubai we have students of multiple mother tongues including Arabic, but the importance of Arabic remains fundamental, both in language and culture.

It  is important that all students in an International Baccalaureate school, which emphasises intercultural understanding, international awareness and open-mindedness have an awareness of the country, culture, traditions – including language – of the culture in which they study.

For students to develop as well-rounded global citizens we emphasise tolerance and understanding, and look at ways to avoid ignorance or misunderstanding which is the cause of so many problems around the world.

I work closely with the Arabic department and it is sometimes challenging for them to work with students who want to speak English. My children also speak Indonesian, and some Arabic, but they are reluctant, sometimes, to speak Indonesian except when they are in Indonesia.

Of course research says it is extremely important to promote the continued daily use of mother tongue, be it Arabic, or another language. We always look to promote a school culture where students are proud to speak their mother tongue.

School libraries in IB schools play an essential role in promoting mother tongue by having relevant sections that reflect all the languages of the school community.

Arabic school

Why are young people often switched off reading in Arabic? One point is the look of the books. We need to find ways to spark their imagination and make reading Arabic books as attractive as reading in English. Often the look of the books, the lack of colour and attractive text is off-putting to young readers.

Ali Ezzedine, a vastly experienced PYP coordinator and workshop leader in English, Arabic and French, who has led superb bilingual workshops at my schools, has also written his own books in Arabic, which are stimulating in design and content with an awareness of the problem and looking to readdress the balance in eye-catching Arabic books.

Ali’s books can be viewed on his website:

We are always working to make learning relevant and challenging for students. This of course includes Arabic.  The Arabic department are continually looking at innovative ways to promote Arabic learning and to integrate learning Arabic with ICT, to develop new ways of learning respecting the new styles of learning for this generation.

The importance of Arabic language and culture needs to be recognised throughout the school year and its relevance reminded to all of our students as an integral part of their studies.

Screenshot 2015-11-24 20.20.50This article was written by International School Community member Neil Bunting. Thanks Neil for such an important reminder and inspiring article!

If you would like to be a guest author on our blog, email us here.  All guest authors get six free months of premium membership!

International School Community is also an excellent place to network with other international school teachers. All premium members are able to send a private messages to one or all of our 6500+ members.

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Highlighted Articles

The number of children at international schools reaches 3 million!

March 22, 2012

The latest figures published by ISC Research show that the number of children attending the world’s international schools has passed three million. This is phenomenal growth in just ten years. In 2002 there were one million international school students. It is this increasing demand for places which is driving the rapid expansion of international schools worldwide; a trend that ISC Research predicts will continue for the foreseeable future.

Ten years ago, the typical international school student was from an expatriate family. Today, that student is from a local family. The number of expatriate children attending international schools has not decreased, indeed there are many more . What has changed is the recognition by local families that international schools are a means of advancing to further education at some of the world’s best universities. “Parents of the next generation are looking towards international schools to satisfy the need for critical thinking rather than learning by rote,” says Clive Pierrepont, Director of Communications at Taaleem which owns and manages 13 schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “The parents clearly see international schools as a route through for university opportunities.” It is this recognition, coupled with increased income, which is making attendance at an international school a real possibility for the wealthier local families. Today 80% of students at international schools are local children.

In a number of cities, this demand from both expat and local families, is outstripping supply. Hong Kong, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha all have significant problems. So much so, that many relocating expats with families are now demanding security of their school places before accepting new placements. In certain locations, it is the availability of good school places that is driving job decisions by expats rather than salaries and destinations. As a result of this demand, a number of countries are actively encouraging the growth of international schools including China, India, Malaysia, Korea, and the UAE.

International schools are typically fee-paying schools that deliver the curriculum wholly or partly in English (outside an English-speaking country). The good quality of learning at international schools is recognised the world over. Many of these schools follow, to a large extent, the English National Curriculum. Others deliver such highly respected international curricula as the International Baccalaureate and the International Primary Curriculum. Others deliver alternative national curricula such as American or Dutch. The best international schools have extremely good reputations, are accredited, and are used as models by national schools the world over.

ISC Research, the organisation that researches and analyses data on international schools worldwide predicts that the number of students in international schools will reach six million in another ten years and that the number of international schools will increase from 6,000 today to 10,000.

Managing Director of ISC Research, Nicholas Brummitt, says “The international school market has become big business. There are now a number of highly respected, multinational groups of schools driving growth forward. Examples of these are Taaleem with schools throughout the UAE and partnerships in other Middle East countries, WCL with schools in the US and Qatar, Nord Anglia with schools in China and Europe, Cognita with schools in the UK, Europe and Asia, ESOL with schools in a number of Middle East countries, Yew Chung Education Foundation with schools in Hong Kong, China and the US, and GEMS with schools in many parts of the world.  Most of these groups are expanding aggressively, either by buying existing schools, expanding current operations, or building new schools. There are also schools with campuses in several countries. These include a number of UK private schools with international operations such as Harrow (in Beijing, Bangkok with a third school in Hong Kong  opening in September this year) and Dulwich which has schools in China and is opening several more in Asia over the next few years.”

For more information about the international schools market visit ISC Research is the only organisation that supplies data and market analyses covering all the world’s English-medium international schools; data that it has been tracking for over twenty years. The latest market updates plus individual school information, news, statistical overviews, and country reports are all available from ISC Research.

For more information about what it is like to work at many of these international schools, make sure to visit

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Blogs of International Teachers

Blogs of international school teachers: School21C – Conversations about 21st Century Education

January 3, 2012

Are you inspired to start up a blog about your adventures living abroad?

Our 14th blog that we would like to highlight is called “School21C – Conversations about 21st Century Education.”  Check out the blog entries of this international school director who is currently working at International School of Prague.

An entry that we would like to highlight:

Journey to Jordan

“I recently visited Amman, Jordan to attend a board of trustees meeting of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) in my capacity as board chair and Director of the International School of Prague.

It was the first time I had visited Jordan and having read and heard so much about the “Arab Spring” and upheaval throughout the region, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am happy to report that upon my arrival and during my entire stay, I encountered a peaceful, open and welcoming people and society. I found everyone I met to be friendly, warm and happy to discuss any topic, from art to politics.

Ahliyyah School for Girls

While the tour of Amman was spectacular, our visit to the Aliyah School for Girls (ASG) was inspiring and moving. The Ahliyyah School for Girls is primarily for Jordanian girls from kindergarten through high school. The ECIS board was treated to a very warm welcome during an assembly in which ASG high school girls spoke with pride about their school, danced in traditional costumes, presented a theatrical performance and soulfully sang for the audience. After the performances, former graduates of the school spoke about their unforgettable experiences as students at ASG and how the school prepared them well to enter the world as confident women and leaders.

The time spent in Amman and at ASG was a moving experience personally and professionally that I will always remember. While my stay was short, I promised our hosts that I would return one day, to fully experience this special part of the Middle East.”

There is so much we can learn when we visit other international schools around the world, especially international schools that are similar to the one that we are currently working at in our career.  It is also nice to have another co-worker/s to come along with you to bounce ideas off of.  Another perk is that you also inevitably learn more about the host country and culture as you are visiting there, which will help to broaden your cultural understanding of the world…which in turn you can infuse into your teaching practice as you interact with your international students.

Check out the Ahliyyah School for Girls profile page on International School Community.  Currently, there are 8 international schools listed in Jordan on our website, with 7 of them being in Jordan.

If you are an international school teacher and would like your blog highlighted on International School Community contact us here.

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Highlighted Articles

Looking for Work? Willing to Move to the UAE? Many Americans (including teachers) are looking to working abroad.

December 21, 2011

With the jobless rate in the United States holding steady at 9.1 percent and the market showing no signs of near-term recovery, many Americans are considering looking abroad to combat their unemployment problem at home.

The Middle East could be the newest hotspot for jobs, according to a new report entitled “Going Global Employment Outlook: United Arab Emirates,” by Mary Anne Thompson, founder and president of Going Global.

It is clear that with this new influx of foreigners to the Middle East, there will also be a high need for their children to attend an international school.  In turn, many teachers are also trying to find jobs teaching in the Middle East, namely in the UAE.  Currently there are 125 international schools listed in the Middle East region of the world on International School Community.  There are presently 34 international schools listed in the UAE, far above the second highest number of schools of 18 which are in Kuwait listed on our website.

Thompson’s thesis states that “despite the continuing volatility in the region, the UAE, with almost no corporate taxes, no income taxes and a relatively low import duty of 5 percent, remains a favorite of multinational companies, expats and would-be expats. As its economic recovery from the global recession gains strength and its stability remains intact, business confidence in the UAE is slowly improving, which should help accelerate economic activity and with it, employment.”

As expats search for jobs abroad, and specifically in the UAE, the questions are where are the high growth sectors, and are the opportunities diverse enough in the UAE to attract expats. Traditionally, job seekers have thought that only oil- and energy-related positions present growth there, but that assumption might not necessarily be accurate.

“UAE experts predict oil and gas production will remain the backbone of the UAE economy for years to come. While this is true, the non-oil sector of the economy is expanding rapidly. Major growth areas include aircraft and parts, security and safety equipment; IT equipment and services; medical equipment, services and supplies; architecture, construction and engineering services; building products; air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; and environmental and pollution control equipment. Because of the UAE’s increasing demand for water and electricity, water and power projects continue to offer opportunities for growth.”

“Nearly 60 percent of businesses in the UAE are looking to hire at managerial and professional levels, up from 46 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to a survey from Antal, an international recruitment company with an office in Dubai. Sixty-eight percent of companies also expect to hire staff for various middle and senior-level positions in the near future,” Thompson explained.

The prospects sound promising, but an important consideration is the local landscape and competition in the UAE. If jobs are abundant, skeptics may ask, then why does the UAE have an estimated 12 percent unemployment rate—one that’s believed to be even higher among its youth? With a large number of Emirati university graduates flooding the market, why may expats be sought to fill the available positions over local candidates? The answer to those questions comes down to skills and training, something that the UAE and the rest of the Middle East struggle with.

In her report, Thompson says, “a recent Middle East Job Index Survey conducted by and YouGov Siraj found those with a degree in business or engineering-related fields have an edge over other job seekers in the region. Twenty-seven percent of employers in the UAE are looking to fill positions with graduates and postgraduates in business management, and 26 percent would like to see engineering graduates and postgraduates join their organization. The survey found that commerce degree holders are also in demand, with 22 percent of companies seeking them to fill positions.”

Meanwhile, many expats never consider seeking job opportunities abroad because they don’t possess local language skills. But Thompson says that non-Arabic speakers shouldn’t assume that language skills will be their Achilles heel.

“While the job index indicates that graduates with certain degrees and Arabic-English speaking skills are in high demand, job seekers who don’t meet the criteria should not be discouraged. Industry experts said getting the right person for the job is crucial, so employers always look beyond formal qualifications when recruiting a new member of the team. Experience and professional achievements count for a lot when seeking the right employee.”

And of course there is the question of salaries; are paychecks in the Middle East competitive by Western standards?

“Salaries in the UAE are high, and they are tax free. GulfTalent predicts UAE salaries will increase 6.3 percent this year…CEOs’ salaries in the UAE are not increasing these days, and the lack of salary hikes may be causing a shortage of candidates,” Thompson said.

(Highlighted article from the CNCB website)

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