KHDA: Dubai School Market Hits 8.45 bn AED

The KHDA has released its annual Education Landscape report for 2019/2020, a snapshot of Dubai's education sector in numbers. The market continues to show sustained growth...
KHDA: Dubai School Market Hits 8.45 bn AED
By David Westley
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The KHDA has released its annual Education Landscape report for 2019/2020, a snapshot of Dubai's education sector in numbers.

Enrolment growth is up by 2.1% for the 2019/20 academic year. Dubai now has 295,148 students, with 143,040 boys and 152,108 girls. Approximately 11.6 percent of students are Emiratis (34,452).

The average fee paid by a Dubai parent is 29,057 AED per year (a figure based on KHDA approved fees not discounted fees), although 51.1% of parents pay less than 20K AED annually. Annual revenue being generated by Dubai schools is 8.45 billion AED - although this excludes the considerable discounting currently in play in the sector.

The UK curriculum, which dominates the Dubai education sector, has seen year on year growth since 2010/11. In 2015/2016 however that growth stepped up several gears, and has remained at an accelerated pace since. Until this time, growth in the UK curriculum was in step with Indian curriculum schools. Today there is a significant gap of around 30,000 students. Over the last 5 years the UK curriculum has recorded 7% growth YoY in enrolment.

The IB has seen the second fastest growth in terms of students enrolled in its schools. It has seen 5.7% growth, although from a much smaller base. There are 18,000 students enrolled in IB schools in 2019/2020 compared to 109,894 students in UK curriculum schools. The IB is now the fourth largest curricula in terms of student numbers in the UAE, overtaking MoE schools. Note, while not a direct comparison, globally the IB seems to be growing even more quickly, The number of candidates sitting International Baccalaureate Diploma examinations has increased by 18 per cent over the past five years, according to statistics released this month by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

Interestingly capacity of new international schools is been taken up not just from new expats arriving in the UAE, but by Emiratis leaving MoE based schools. In 2010 there were more Emiratis in MoE schools than any other curriculum. Today there are approximately 6 times as many Emiratis in international UK schools than MoE schools. The MoE is the only curriculum to have contracted in terms of enrolment over the last 5 years.

There continues to be capacity in Dubai schools - even its Outstanding schools have 7.9% of places "free". Unsurprisingly, schools that have yet to be inspected have the most capacity, with 41.5% of their seats untaken. These are Dubai's newest schools.

Perhaps also unsurprising is that availability of places increases as quality (defined by the KHDA's rating) decreases. What is a surprise is that schools costing over 60 K AED per year are more likely to be full than those that cost less. Schools costing around 25 K AED are running at 80 percent capacity, those at 40 K AED at 76.3 percent capacity, schools at 50K AED at 66.3 percent capacity, while this with fees greater than 60K AED are running at 83.9 percent capacity.

Infographic: The Numbers in Detail

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