The London education market in particular “has more personal appeal to top Chinese business people than almost anything else in Britain”, according to China Rich List compiler Rupert Hoogewerf. St Paul’s, Westminster and Harrow don’t need to market themselves to China — there is a booming business for organisations such as Old Etonian William Vanbergen’s Shanghai-headquartered BE Education, helping parents get their children into top public schools.
Now London state schools are starting to seize the same opportunities. St Mary Magdalene in Islington, an academy founded in 2005, has an established relationship with a school in Chongqing. In September it will take five students from a new partner school in Beijing to study for the International Baccalaureate (IB). The Chinese parents will pay for their child’s bed and board with families of St Mary’s pupils in London. St Mary’s is simultaneously helping the Beijing school introduce the IB programme.
Is education a gold mine or a black hole, for the institutions or for the students and their parents, the China Weekly Hangout wondered in February of this year. Andrew Hupert, formerly working for the NYU Shanghai campus and Paul Fox, lecturer at the HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education join Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau.