Top British schools set to enter India

Thursday, 21 August 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: Top British schools such as Harrow and Dulwich are likely to set up branches in India and other countries in Asia as part of globalisation of British education.

British universities scouring India and other countries for high fee paying students is no longer news, but now private British schools are set to tread the same path to generate revenue.

Some of the most historic names in British education are cropping up across the Far East as public schools begin to tap the vast and lucrative markets of Asia.

In September, Shrewsbury School, alma mater to scientist Charles Darwin, will open its first international branch in Bangkok.

In July, Dulwich College started work on a new Chinese franchise in Shanghai, adding to its Thai branch on Phuket, in southern Thailand. It may also open up in India.

Harrow, whose onetime pupils include former prime ministers Winston Churchill and Jawaharlal Nehru, has a franchise in Bangkok.

Students from the Pacific rim are also flooding into fee-paying schools and universities in Britain.

Reports here say that many in Asia regard British education as offering tradition and status combined with a more liberal, humanistic approach than their own schools.

Day pupils at Dulwich College International in Shanghai will have to pay about 3,000 pounds sterling a term -- roughly the same as their peers in south London.

Under Chinese law, only expatriate British, Taiwanese and Hong Kong citizens can enrol, but the school says it hopes the restrictions will be lifted soon.

According to Jeremy Goulding, the head teacher of Shrewsbury school, Shrewsbury International in Bangkok will provide a full English curriculum for 600 boys and girls aged three to 18.

English-speaking teachers, mostly from Britain, Australia and New Zealand, will be employed.

Dulwich College, where authors Raymond Chandler and P.G. Wodehouse were pupils, already runs a successful international school in Phuket. The nursery department of its Shanghai franchise will open next month, the full school a year later.

Graham Able, head teacher of Dulwich, says there are three main reasons behind the overseas expansion.

"It gives us an international dimension, allowing pupil and staff exchanges; it raises our profile abroad; and the income from the franchise fee paid to us goes towards providing bursaries here."

Harrow, founded in 1572, says it receives royalties from the use of its name in Bangkok, and sends out inspectors to make sure that standards are maintained.

Asia is already a significant source of students for Britain's universities and private schools. Data shows that foreign student numbers in Britain are rising, making up over 10 percent of students.

A report from Universities U.K., which represents vice-chancellors and principals, estimated that off-campus expenditure of overseas students in 1999/2000 was 1.3 billion pounds.

Source: IANS
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