More than 50,000 schools are expected to be set up throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council region by 2020 to meet growing, according to a report by Alpen Capital.
The capacity addition is hoped to address the growing school population that is expected to reach 15 million by 2020.
“Experts estimate about 51,000 schools will be needed by 2020 to accommodate the growing demand for schools throughout the GCC,” said co-founder of the International and Private Schools Education Forum Rhona Greenhill.
“This will be a significant addition of 7,000 more schools than the current number to address the burgeoning school student population across the region.”
According to the report, 41,678 schools will come up in the public sector while 9,301 schools are planned in the private education market.
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Saudi Arabia leads with 44,441 schools, followed by Oman with 2,054 and Kuwait with 1,497.
A total of 1,406 schools are planned in the UAE, followed by 1,107 in Qatar and 503 in Bahrain.
The report identified that more than 500 educational projects collectively worth more than $50bn were in various stages of development throughout the Gulf region last year.
The projected capacity gap is leading to increased government spending and long-term development strategies.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman have allocated more than 20 per cent of their total budget this year towards the education sector, a figure higher than in most developed countries such as the US, UK and Germany.
“The lead in time for the delivery of new schools is at least 24 months allowing for design and approvals in advance of a typical construction first phase of at least 14 months,” said Education consultant at Daymer Group Mark Ryder.
“This also assumes handover to the operator in the May preceding a September opening. With this in mind we have a good sense of the schools planning to open in September 2016 and 2017. The window for September 2018 schools will close in a few months. There are schools planned for Abu Dhabi and Sharjah but not in the same numbers as Dubai.
“I know that there is significant activity in the construction of new public schools in Saudi Arabia and that the Qatar market is also active. New schools in Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait are limited,” he added.