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Dubai: 120 new schools to open over next decade, says KHDA

Private school enrolments in Dubai have almost doubled in the last decade, according to the latest figures from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, which is bullish that growth will continue into the next 10 years.

KHDA report on private schools in Dubai 2016/17In its latest report, KHDA predicts 120 more private schools will open in Dubai by 2020. Graphic: KHDA

Private school enrolments are expected to reach nearly 470,000 by 2026

Enrolments at private schools in the Emirate have risen by 89% over the last 10 years to reach 273,599 the last academic year – growing at a rate of 6.6% per year, according to KHDA’s latest Dubai Private Education Landscape report.

“Every new school that opens in Dubai gives parents more choice for their children’s education”

There are currently 185 private schools in Dubai, operating at 88.6% capacity, the report said, and more are needed to keep pace with booming demand.

To meet this demand, 120 more schools are expected to open by 2026, bringing total enrolments to nearly 470,000, the report says.

“We have seen consistent and strong growth in private education over the years and this has contributed to an improvement in the overall standard of living and long-term economic growth for Dubai,” commented KHDA’s director general, Abdulla Al Karam.

Presenting the report at an event last week at the UAE Embassy in London, Al Karam added: “By improving access to private education and enabling a wider choice for families, we are opening more avenues for high-quality education with a focus on happiness, wellbeing and positive education.”

Enrolment at Dubai’s private schools is highly international, with 187 nationalities represented in 2016/17.

Indian expats made up the largest cohort of students, with 93,013 enrolled last year, followed by UAE nationals, with 29,843.

Pakistan, Egypt and the UK rounded out the top five nationalities.

Well over a third of the schools (73) offer the British curriculum, while 33 follow the Indian curriculum, and 43 the US system – though Indian-curriculum schools teach more students than the US schools.

Only 13 of Dubai’s 185 private schools teach the UAE’s Ministry of Education curriculum.

“Consistent and strong growth in private education has contributed to long-term economic growth”

The report’s release follows KHDA’s announcement earlier this month that 10 new schools will open in Dubai this September.

The schools will variously follow the Indian, British, American, French and Canadian curricula. Tuition fees will range from AED15,000 (US$4,085) to AED83,000 ($22,600) per year, in line with KHDA’s drive to provide a range of premium and more affordable options.

“Every new school that opens in Dubai gives parents more choice for their children’s education,” commented Al Karam.

He added: “That Dubai continues to attract high numbers of new schools and new residents speaks to the growth of our economy, and to the trust that parents and school operators have in the quality of education offered here.”

Meanwhile, Dubai’s private higher education sector is also undergoing rapid expansion, having grown by 73% in the last six years – equivalent to an annual growth rate of 9.6% – the report notes.

The most recently announced addition to Dubai’s higher education landscape is the University of Birmingham, which is set to open a campus next year.

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