Today you can easily find numerous fresh looking young students wearing a UK school tie in Abu Dhabi and Beijing. The traditional education has become one of the primary exports for UK, as more international parents are sending their kids to the United Kingdom for schooling.
UK Schools Going International
Statistics from the Independent Schools Council reveal that during yearly this year, the council’s members were present in over 44 international campuses, mainly in the Middle and Far East. This number has risen from 20 campuses just 3 years earlier. Some of the leading schools that are spreading their wings internationally are Brighton College, Dulwich, Cranleigh, Haileybury, Repton, Harrow, Wellington and Sherborne.
Tony Puri, chief executive of Repton International Schools, said “A British education is seen as a gold standard by ambitious parents and students abroad, usually with the aim of entering a foreign university. A partner campus also makes sense for the parent school, as fee income is used to benefit bursary schemes at home and maintain tuition costs at acceptable levels.” The institute has campuses across Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Going Beyond Education
Apart from the academic standards of British public schools, their philanthropic tradition are also being adopted in campuses abroad. For example, Cranleigh, which has a prep school and a senior school in Abu Dhabi, is all set to provide a fraction of the the proceeds to sponsor a community school which operates in Zambia. Added to this is a goal to educate an emerging generation of global citizens. Michael Wilson, headmaster of Cranleigh Prep School, said “The Middle East is at the interface between different cultures. The best way to get people to understand each other is to start with children early, before they have time to develop prejudices.”
Developing a global network of contacts can prove to be highly beneficial for the students of the parent school as their global counterparts. Wilson added “Our old boy and old girl network is broadening and in future some very influential players on the world stage will be Old Cranleighans.”
Joseph Spence, Master of Dulwich College, believes that all these ventures abroad help the independent institutes to build their own brands. Dulwich currently has 5 international schools across Singapore, South Korea and China. Spence said “They’re very good schools in themselves and their stature is ultimately complementary to that of the parent school.”
The fees in the overseas campuses are usually one third lower than what is charged in the UK. Moreover, the huge amount of savings on living costs, boarding and travel costs tend to make British schools abroad attractive for expats and locals. However, the international counterparts are not a clone of the original institutes. Most of these schools have much more students than the parent institute and adjust curriculum based on local culture, history and language.
Wilson added “We wanted Abu Dhabi to be a partner school, not a satellite. We’re interested in translating Cranleigh, not transplanting it. We had 30 applications for every post so the quality of the staff is unbelievable. We’ve effectively added 100 new members to our teaching staff and the exchange of ideas is equally valuable in both directions.”
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