Chinese investment in Cambodia creating demand for trilingual schools – ISC

International schools in Cambodia are missing out on a potential new market by not offering trilingual programs in English, Mandarin and Khmer, according to a new report by ISC Research.

Driven by the sheer scale of Chinese investment in Cambodia – including a university partly funded by the Chinese government that launched in 2018 and the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone – local parents see learning both Chinese and English as a way to improve their children’s livelihoods in a country that is South East Asia’s second poorest in terms of GDP per capita.

The report also noted, “schools in Phnom Penh are beginning to receive enquiries from Chinese families, although this has not yet materialised into enrolled students”. While most Chinese expatriates working in Cambodia are men there alone, some are beginning to bring their families with them.

The international school market in Cambodia represents around 7.2% of the South East Asian total, with 147 English-medium schools that cater to around 40,000 students, down from 155 last year following several shutdowns and a merger.

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