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Middle East leads international schools market

Almost a third of the world’s international school students study in the Middle East, research has shown. The region is home to 1,213 of the world’s 7,016 English-medium international schools, teaching over 1 million students.

Student enrolment at Dubai's international schools has risen by 40% since 2009 to 191,000. Photo: ADTeasdale.

The world’s leading city for international schools is Dubai, where student enrolment has risen by 40% since 2009

“ISC predicts that Dubai will see continued strong growth for several years to come”

Figures released by the International Schools Consultancy Group (ISC), which provides market intelligence on international schools, show that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) continue to dominate the Middle Eastern market with 433 international schools, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have 195 and 130 respectively.

Based on the research, Dubai is undoubtedly the leading city for international schools having seen dramatic growth in recent years to 233 institutions. Student enrolment has risen by 40% since 2009 to 191,000, bringing a 55% increase in tuition fee income totalling USD$1.2 billion in the same time period.

The increase in demand, which has seen Dubai’s schools operating at 90% capacity, is partially down to more Emirati nationals opting for international schools says ISC.

“ISC predicts that Dubai will see continued strong growth for several years to come,” a spokesperson said.

Dubai’s international schools market will see a further boost over the next few years as it prepares to host the 2020 World Expo, fuelling further prosperity and bringing in more expat workers.

At the end of last year Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of The Knowledge and Human Development Agency (KHDA) predicted that 70 new or expanded schools would take root in the emirate over the next five years.

Based on its research of schools that deliver a curriculum wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country, many of which offer an international curriculum, ISC expects to see continued growth in the international schools market.

It predicts that there will be over 11,000 international schools teaching English-based curricula to 6.3 million students within the next decade.

 

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