FIVE new international schools will be needed by 2000 if the economy remains attractive to overseas investors and emigrant returnees, a government review has found. But the forecast growth could be shaken by political instability or a downturn in foreign trade. The Executive Council is expected to discuss today the review and recommendations on the funding policy and demand of international schools. Survey Research Hong Kong was commissioned to study demand for places at international schools. The study surveyed all 40 schools with non-local curricula, including 2,500 families and 1,500 companies. The economic indicator or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices was found to be the most significant determining factor in predicting the demand for places. Other factors included the number of expatriates and emigrant returnees. The survey report said the demand for international school places this year was estimated to be 24,589, rising to 32,813 in 2000. That represents a slight drop in the average annual growth rate over the past 10 years. There were 22,186 international school places in 1994, compared to 11,670 in 1984. The average annual growth rate was 6.6 per cent. About 47 per cent of pupils are estimated to be children of expatriates, 26 per cent are emigrant returnees and the remaining 27 per cent are from local families. Britons form the largest group of students at these schools, followed by Americans and Japanese. The forecast demand would require the establishment of another five international schools by 2000. But the prediction was drawn on the assumption that Hong Kong's GDP rose at a constant annual rate of 13.9 per cent. 'Any factors which have an impact on future GDP will affect these demand projections. These factors may include political stability and foreign trade. 'The basic assumption of these projections is that the relationship between demand and the state of economy during the past 10 years will hold true for the next six years,' the report said. A one per cent change in GDP would result in about 0.4 per cent change in demand between now and 2000. The predicted demand includes both enrolment at international schools and pupils who would have enrolled if the supply had been adequate - the unmet demand. This was estimated to be eight per cent of enrolment. But the report said the real shortfall was less serious because students submitted multiple applications. The survey also found only two per cent of international school pupils worked in Hong Kong after graduation. Average tuition fees in international schools are $45,000 a year for primary pupils and $51,500 for secondary pupils. Most respondents in the family survey said the fees were too high. The survey polled 405 companies with overseas employees and found 44 per cent provided total or partial subsidies for children attending international schools.