International schools offer golf, skiing in Japan, luring rich Chinese parents

straitstimes.com -- Jun 27
An international school building boom is underway in Japan, fuelled by top-shelf names in education seeking to attract the children of wealthy Asian families, especially from China.

Famed British institutions Harrow, Rugby School and Malvern College are setting up campuses in the island nation, with more than 3,000 new student slots to be added over the next few years, the biggest expansion in international education in the country since 2018.

With annual tuition that can cost as much as 9.3 million yen (S$95,440), they're betting that scions of the well-heeled will be lured by lush green campuses, an international curriculum and a rich activity menu.

Included in the sales pitch: Japan's relative proximity, low Covid-19 infection rates and fewer restrictions.

That's in contrast to China, where ongoing pandemic curbs and a crackdown on private education are pushing families out - both expatriate and local.

Until the crackdown, enrolment China's locally-owned institutions with foreign-school branding was growing by more than 10 per cent annually, according to ISC Research, and educational data provider.

China's zero-Covid policy is also a driving factor, with the possibility of extended lockdowns and remote learning still very real more than two years since the start of the pandemic. In contrast, Japan has been slowly reopening while maintaining the developed world's lowest Covid death toll.

Japan's government has also been dangling incentives to attract private schools, with policies making it easier for investors to obtain tax breaks and simplifying the procedures to open offices and obtain visas.

The Financial Services Agency has also revealed plans to help match properties for top international schools considering entering the market and is has even floated the possibility of granting loans for investments. ...continue reading


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