Crystal Ball Gazing - Short Term Future of IE

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Crystal Ball Gazing - Short Term Future of IE

Post by sciteach »

Hi All,

As the current uncertainty caused to the current human malware plaguing the globe - I wanted to make some claims and see if it stands up to general scrutiny of the ISR forum. Feel free to make counter claims to the comments made below - just try and keep it civil.

(Claim 1) Student numbers will be affected: Between February and May - many schools are sending out bills for the 2020/21 school year. I've heard rumblings that numbers will be stable for some schools to an absolute route in others. Let's just say there is a lot of flux. I'm already aware of staff in European schools who have had their contract cancelled in Europe for the 2020/21 school year.

(Claim 2) Expat student based schools will be affected most: As countries close borders and the slow (most likely temporary) breakdown of the global production chain will significantly affect the number of expat families living overseas. As such - many of the schools which have a high expat student population will be significantly affected. Schools with a largely local population will be more stable if families can continue to pay the bills. Schools in China, the ME and countries such as Thailand with a local population will be less affected.

(Claim 3) Darwinian thinning of the international education heard: In locations which have a large number of international schools such as Dubai, HK, Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai etc will have a huge thinning of the heard. For example - WAB and ISB in Beijing will probably have stable numbers as students who leave these schools are replaced by students from Tier 2/3 schools. As such - the lower rung of schools who focus mainly on the expat population will potentially be hit with a double whammy.

(Claim 4) Pay and conditions will take a long term hit: In the last year or so I started to see an improvement in some Chinese school payment offerings - but in general many schools were keeping wages stagnant or reducing conditions. With student numbers potentially dropping - many schools will not be in a financial position to expand pay and condition. Apart from Western Europe where pay and conditions are difficult to change - many schools will gradually reduce pay and conditions either to remain solvent or to recoup profits lost

(Claim 5) Being a non-profit will not increase likelihood of not folding: There are lots of private schools out there that are out just to make money and see parents as cash cows - but the financials is what really matters. As such - there might be a large number of smaller non-profit schools in lesser locations which fold due to less students.

fine dude
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Re: Crystal Ball Gazing - Short Term Future of IE

Post by fine dude »

Claim 1: If the school has a good mix of local plus expat students and a long waiting list, it may not be a real rout.

Claim 2: Not all locals can afford tier 1 school tuition, particularly in the current scenario even in Beijing.

Claim 4: I see a trimming of benefits (lower or no housing, withdrawal of flight allowances, local insurance etc.) in many schools and some cut in pay.

Claim 5: Mid-tier accredited schools with affordable tuition (KIS BKK, K. International School, Tokyo) will receive more interest.

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Re: Crystal Ball Gazing - Short Term Future of IE

Post by shadowjack »

There is one factor overriding all of these. If a school is perceived to be good, parents want that for their children, and even in a stretch, will pay. But yes, some parents will look for more affordable options.

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Post by PsyGuy »


(Claim 1): Disagree, Students have to go to class. Wuhan didnt kill off a bunch of kids. Parents will grumble but they dont really have a lot of options.

(Claim 2): Disagree, Those ISs that have a sizable expat population will replace those students with locals. ISs have been inquiring with the SOS and Foreign Office about financial support.

(Claim 3): Disagree, there will be some small ISs that ill have to shutter, but that wont be permenant. ISs are major capital projects at some point when the students are there they will open again (possibly under new ownership).

(Claim 4): Agree, but its likely to be less noticeable. Coin is going to take a small hit, likely ISs rounding down or cutting a few percentage points. The moderate changes are going to be in relocation benefits/allowances such as flights, shipping/shopping, settlement allowances, and lower quality housing and insurance. The biggest changes are going to be ITs with high family logistic costs. ISs are going to be more reluctant then ever to fly and support a family of 4 just to fill a humanities/literature or enrichment classroom.

(Claim 5): Agree, but for-profit will weather and adapt to the changes better than non-profits.

@fine dude

(Claim 1): Agree, assuming those ISs can pivot towards local students.

(Claim 2): Agree, but ISs can and will change price points to fill seats.

(Claim 4): Agree

(Claim 5): More third tier floater ISs are going to see growth. Second tier ISs will suffer the most noticeably. Bottom third tier ISs will be hurt but they are also the most agile and will pivot and if thy dont it wont matter. First tier ISs will be fine.

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Re: Crystal Ball Gazing - Short Term Future of IE

Post by Heliotrope »

It's hard to say without it being specific to a certain city/country, and a bunch of other things.
It depends on the number and the type of schools within a certain city. Do the schools have a long wait list, or did they already have a shortage of students? Is it a market that foreign companies will easily desert? What's the student makeup?
In some countries international schools are only allowed to accept expats kids (Singapore for example). Sometimes rich parents will just buy a second nationality for their kids, if they didn't give birth abroad already to make sure their kid has a US or Canadian passport, this still makes the pool of potential students smaller if there's not a wait list.
Tbh, I think in a few years, most will be back to normal, with normal being defined as a year ago.

As to benefits and salary, hard to tell. Some schools will trim now, and not return them when the pandemic is over, others will.
This situation might also make it less appealing for teachers to go international, even after the pandemic is well over, resulting in a shortage of ITs and perhaps increases in salary.

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