The GCC is currently the second fastest growing market in the world after east Asia for private education, according to a report issued by the International School Consultancy Group.
There are currently 982 international schools across the Gulf with the UAE accounting for just under half of this number at 439 schools. Saudi Arabia comes in a distant second at 195 schools followed by Qatar at 130 schools. The fees paid by parents to international schools across the GCC amounts to around $6 billion according to the report’s authors.
The total number of students in the region is expected to reach 13.7 million by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of three per cent from 2013 to 2020, the report added.
There are 90,000 additional school places planned for Dubai in 60 new and expanded schools over the coming six years, according to the report.
The report’s authors comment on the restrictions currently imposed in the UAE on raising school fees: “International schools in Dubai are not allowed to increase fees without approval by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, and fee increases are related to school performance,” says the report.
“The authorities’ powers to control fee increases has caused serious problems for some schools, pushing them to the brink of closure.”