Shenzhen's international schools have opened new facilities and taken on extra staff to cope with growing numbers of pupils as this year's new school term begins.
Shekou International School (SIS) has seen its number of pupils rise from 420 to 550 this year while the number of students at QSI International School of Shekou (QSI) has risen by a quarter to 700.
Robert Dunseth, director of SIS, said its faculty has also increased by 26 to 75 qualified teachers this year.
With an investment of more than 14 million yuan (US$1.84 million) in the past six months, SIS has opened its Bayside middle and high school campus, which is located in the Coastal Rose community in Shekou.
Founded in 1988, SIS is the oldest international school in Shenzhen. Its Jingshan Villas campus will be used mainly as preschool and elementary school classrooms from this school year on.
SIS has begun to offer a full range of Advanced Placement (AP) classes for high school students. These courses allow students to earn college and university credits while still in high school.
With the new semester beginning last Thursday, QSI has enrolled 700 students, aged between 2 and 18, from 40 countries and regions.
"This represents a 25 percent increase in student enrollment," said Britt Brantley, director of QSI.
QSI's total student enrolment last year was 556. QSI began with only 21 students when the school opened in August 2001, and has become the fastest growing international school in Shenzhen over the past six years.
The school's teaching staff last year was 121, and has increased this year to 138, including 87 foreign teachers, almost entirely from the United States, and seven Chinese teachers.
"More than 60 percent of our faculty hold master's degrees, two with doctorates and 100 percent are fully qualified," said Brantley.
QSI has also launched a locally taught and comprehensive AP curriculum. The school provides a full-time counselor and staff dedicated to university application.
QSI will open this October an early childhood center serving students aged between 2 and 5 in a hillside neighborhood near the Garden City in Shekou. The instructional and play space at the center will cover an area of more than 3,500 square meters, including a library, computer lab and three playgrounds.
ISSC, another international school in Nanshan District, is planning to build a new campus at the foot of the Tanglang Mountain despite the fact that the school has not increased its number of students or teaching staff, according to Vincent Pang, the school's executive director.
"When the new campus is completed, ISSC will be able to provide more than 400 places for international students," Pang said.
ISSC had enrolled more than 130 students from more than 20 countries and regions before the new semester began.
By the end of September, that is expected to reach more than 150, according to Donna Trafford, ISSC's new principal.
(Shenzhen Daily August 27, 2007)