The crypto-growth of ‘International Schooling’: Emergent issues and implications

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The diverse arena of International Schooling concerned with schools delivering a non-local curriculum in English largely outside an English-speaking nation, has grown enormously during the current wave of globalisation. Traditionally, the arena of “International Schools” played an intended ideological and pragmatic role, albeit in a rather discrete and peripheral manner which in practice facilitated an exclusive schooling experience for a limited and already privileged transnational elite clientele. Its growing appeal and access to a wider, localised clientele is now a key source of tension. A period of fast-paced, reactionary policy-making in areas such as China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Qatar, has quickly and rather quietly ushered in a new, diverse provision of private international schooling, supported by a complex global package of commercially-driven support-agencies and backed by private equity. Further, a body of state-backed “Public International Schools” are discretely beginning to appear, offering an entirely new arena of activity. Moreover, there is evidence that much of this is occurring without national debate or awareness, creating a newer and more complex form of “crypto-growth”. The arena of International Schools now competes directly within the national sphere of education, raising both their political profile and critical discussion about their emergent purpose and intentions. The role now seems much more blurred and problematic, and tensions are beginning to appear at a local and national level adding to the sense of insecurity and precarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Review
Issue number1
Early online date8 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


  • Globalisation
  • International Baccalaureate
  • International Schools
  • education policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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