Harrow School is officially coming to Shenzhen: the 400-year-old school that counts princes and prime ministers among its alumni has signed a service agreement with the city’s Qianhai district government to build a campus there.
The special economic zone has grand ambitions for the coming years. At the moment, it is largely a massive construction zone with a cluster of buildings but not as many occupants as it would like. But according to its masterplan, the area is expected over the next few years to house a 500,000-strong workforce and as many as 200,000 residents.
The city’s leaders hope, of course, that many of these will be foreigners. Not just any foreigners, either, but the type that can afford a place for their children at one of the world’s most expensive elite schools. Harrow currently has four schools for expat children in Asia including Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The Hong Kong school, near the Gold Coast, is by far the city’s most expensive, with monthly fees, including boarding, running at more than HK$35,000.
Du Peng, director of the Qianhai Management Bureau, said during the signing ceremony that international education is an integral part of Qianhai’s development plan as well as a “name card” to attract high-end international talent, congregate global resources and facilitate cultural exchange. “The arrival of Harrow School has further demonstrated our confidence and determination to turn Qianhai into a place ideal for working and living,” Du said.
Together with Harrow, Qianhai also plans to bring the International Leadership Academy to the area. Founded by Asia International School Limited in 2015, the International Leadership Academy is designed to deliver a traditional British education. The Qianhai campus, following the one in Beijing, will be the second of an anticipated group of ten K-12 schools in China, affiliated with Harrow International Schools.
The two schools will be built on adjacent plots to share the samefaculty, supporting facilities and education resources. However, the two are relatively independent, with separate management. Harrow will be smaller, with about 1,000 students in 40 classes, introducing synchronous foreign courses in international schools. Leadership, which recruits both domestic and foreign students, plans to accept about 1,500 students in 50 classes. It is going to set up relevant courses in accordance with the requirements of homogeneous educational institutions at the same level in China.
The project covers an area of about 40,062 sqm. Harrow will open in September next year; while Leadership will follow a year later.