International schools: The new local

IN 1979, when Ken Ross was eight, his family moved from Scotland to France for his father’s job with IBM. The computer firm paid the fees at the English School of Paris, where his classmates were mostly children of expats from Britain and elsewhere: managers, army officers, diplomats and the like. A couple were Saudi princes. For the most recent class reunion, old boys and girls flew in from as far afield as China and South Africa.

Since then, there has been a boom in such “international schools”, which teach in English in non-Anglophone countries, mostly offering British A-levels, American APs and SATs, or the International Baccalaureate. During the past quarter-century, according to the International School Consultancy Group (ISC), based in Britain, their number has grown from under 1,000 to more than 7,300. In the 2013-14 academic year they generated $41.6 billion in revenue and taught 3.75m pupils globally (see chart). Twenty-two…

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