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October 28, 2021

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International education grows with boom in expats

Education, not only a key modern service industry, but also a sector vital to people’s livelihood, has become more highly valued in recent years.

As Shanghai has developed into a modern international metropolis, it has become home to more foreign enterprises. It is luring more talent from across the world, resulting in greater importance being attributed to education for expatriate families in the city.

Britannica International School, as an example, settled in Shanghai in 2013 and has witnessed the booming education industry. It started with only 50 students but has surged to around 400 this year.

It is now the only international school in the city with full accreditation status from both COBIS (the Council of British International Schools) and CIS (the Council of International Schools), two of the most authoritative organizations for educational accreditation. They attest to the levels of quality and consistency that each accredited member school must uphold, according to the school.

“The quality and rigor of a COBIS and CIS accreditation is recognized by ministries, departments of education, and universities around the world as a demonstration of a school’s commitment to maintain a high-quality international education,” the school says.

Located in the central urban area of Shanghai, the school endeavors to deliver the best of British education to students aged 2 to 18, said Paul Farrell, principal of Britannica International School Shanghai, who has 15 years of experience in the education industry.

It is the only international school in Shanghai whose whole leadership team are from the UK, he noted.

As a British-owned school at which the vast majority of teachers have been trained in the UK, it offers a full British curriculum adapted and enhanced to meet the needs of its international students.

“We can offer children multiple opportunities, with a wide variety of courses to choose from. For instance, language courses in our school, aside from Chinese and English, also include French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, etc.”

Following the English National Curriculum culminating in IGCSE and A Level qualifications, the school also “has a huge range of subjects available for students, covering physics, biology, chemistry, maths, psychology, economics, history, art, etc.”

With diverse lessons we attract more excellent students and ensure their personalized education, Farrell said.

Britannica belongs to the Orbital Group which has set up 10 schools around the world, covering South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Britannica Shanghai is the only one in China.

“We recognize Shanghai as one of the cities with fastest development and we see a large number of expatriate families relocate and work here,” Farrell said, explaining why they chose Shanghai for the school.

“Our student population, number of teachers and the variety of courses are all on the rise over the past years,” the principal said.

He expected to see the student population reach the targeted 700 within a few years, “thanks to a steady increase in the number of foreign companies and foreign employees in the city.”

Farrell also expressed satisfaction with local authorities in terms of improving the environment and offering support for the school’s construction and operation.

The school hopes to draw further support from the government.

“It could be advantageous if authorities help organize some activities such as sporting events and cultural exchanges linking us with more schools in the district,” he said.

“We expect such activities to enhance the interaction and communication between our international students and Chinese students studying at other schools.”

Britannica is also seeking more collaboration with local schools in terms of teaching resources.

As an example, “they (local schools) may have the best mathematics teachers in China. I would love those excellent teachers to come here and teach some of our children so that our teachers can learn from them,” Farrell said.

“And equally, I believe we also have some outstanding teachers in some subjects, such as various languages, who would be happy to teach some lessons in your (local) schools.”

Shanghai in August released its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for education development in the city.

The plan commits to offer first-class education, promote the comprehensive and individual development of students, make education available throughout people’s lives, and significantly enhance the capacity of education to serve economic and social development.


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