The Dubai government is reaching out to schools group in the private sector, in a bid to leverage their expertise for new Public Private Partnership (PPP) based schools able to offer international education to Emirati students.
The government is also looking to lease schools from Dubai's private school groups for the 'Dubai Schools' project.
The new PPP based schools are slated to open for the next academic year, in 2020-21.
In addition to need to be able to deliver "high quality international education", the schools will have to double down on Arabic literacy, Islamic Studies and local culture - three areas of weakness for private schools, pretty much without exception across school groups, at least according to Dubai School Inspection Bureau reports.
With the government looking to establish the schools by next year, the deadline to apply for pre-qualification is unsurprising tight. Documents need to be submitted by 22nd September, to firstname.lastname@example.org. A group's 'expression of interest' must include the K-12 operator name, brief description of activity, country of country headquarters, primary contact person, address, direct telephone number, mobile number, fax and email address.
In addition, private school operators can lease their current schools to Dubai. In a notice put out on local media, the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Dubai (TEC) said:
"If you have a school available with high quality infrastructure, not less than 10 years old, and is in a good quality condition, that you would like to consider to lease for the Dubai Schools Project, then please send an email referencing the subject as 'Available school to lease for Dubai schools to email@example.com by 1pm on 22nd September 2019."
The move by Dubai government must be seen as recognition by the emirate's authorities as a reflection of the success of its private school operators in delivering a high quality, internationally oriented education. The private, international school market in the UAE is the largest in the world, with China some way behind in terms of number of schools, in second.
It is not clear if the Dubai Schools project will affect a separate government initiative to see higher Emirati student numbers in Dubai's pure play, private international schools.
The announcement follows the launch a charter school initiative for Emiratis in Abu Dhabi. Charter institutions are government-owned, but run by three leading private educational providers in the emirate – Aldar Education, Bloom Education and Taaleem.