UAE to require more than 175,000 new school seats by 2020January 31, 2017, 1:35 pm GMT
The UAE's private school sector is expected to continue to drive growth in the country's education market until 2020, according to a new report by PwC.
More than 175,000 additional seats are predicted to be required in the K-12 segment in the next four years, 90% of which will come from private schools.
Other significant findings of the report show that based on historic demographic trends, Dubai is forecast to require 74,500 additional seats in 50 new private schools by 2020, while 62,000 additional seats in 52 new private schools in the same period will be needed in Abu Dhabi.
PwC Middle East education director Roland Hancock said: "Making sense of a rapidly evolving education market in the Gulf region is challenging given the availability of information. In our emerging series of reports - Understanding the GCC Education Sector - we profile each of the six countries in the GCC, to contribute to a better appreciation of the trends and issues being faced by decision makers in both the private and public sectors."
Sally Jeffery, PwC Middle East education & skills partner and PwC global education sector leader added: "The public education systems in the GCC are using national curricula, which have a lot of reform to go through still. They are not as mature as international curricula and content and the pedagogy is very different. They are putting a lot of effort into modernising their curricula but that process is difficult to do it quickly.
"In the private sector there are a couple of areas that are underserved. Pre-school is growing at twice the rate of K-12 and that demand can be met by smaller sized facilities, and regulation - particularly pricing - is less controlled than in K-12, although this may be changing as the government focuses more on early learning. There are also gaps in higher education, which need development funding, particularly for STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] subjects, which are much needed, but expensive to operate. Leading STEM universities world-wide depend heavily on their endowment funds."
With the increasing number of schools, parents also have more choice when picking a school for their children.
It is expected that cost will play a critical role in changing the supply-demand dynamic, with calls for Dubai to have more quality schools below the average annual tuition of AED40,000.
More insights from the report include that in Dubai, UK and Indian curriculum schools continue to dominate but that IB curriculum schools are becoming an increasingly popular option among parents. Meanwhile, in Abu Dhabi, Indian and American curriculum schools are driving growth but British curriculum schools remain popular choices with parents considering admission to lower cost European higher education institutes.
The data was released ahead of GESS Dubai, which is scheduled to run from March 14-16 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
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