Dubai will have 27 new private schools by September 2016 that will offer 63,000 seats for students, the emirate’s education regulator Knowledge and Human Development Authority has said.
By 2017, Dubai will have more than 196 schools with a capacity to accommodate 341,000 students in total, KHDA added.
Dubai’s education sector has been booming over the last few years largely buoyed by a steady influx of expats and a rise in disposable income that enabled parents to pay higher tuition fees. Such favourable market conditions have lured investors to fund or start new schools.
KHDA revealed that 18 new private schools opened in Dubai between 2011 and 2014, offering around 19,000 seats. Meanwhile 11 new schools opened in the academic year that started in September 2014, adding a capacity of 25,000 seats.
KHDA’s chief of regulations and permits commission Mohammed Ahmed Darwish added that the regulator is currently evaluating 60 new applications for schools, underscoring the demand among educational providers to set up in the emirate.
Dubai already has the highest school fees in the region and as per the latest update, almost 117 schools will be further hiking their fees from September after KHDA granted them permission.
However, Darwish said that additional supply will ease the strain on parents’ purse strings, providing them with more choices as schools will offer better deals to attract students.
“This creates competitiveness among the new private schools within Dubai,” he said.
“Private schools will present special packages and promotional offers to attract parents of new and existing students. The offers include attractive installment packages and discounts for families that have more than one child in the same school. As a result, parents benefit from the competition created amongst private schools in Dubai.”
A report by Colliers International released last year showed that Dubai will require a total of 51 new schools by 2020 to meet existing demand. A total investment of $2bn will be required over the next five years to build these schools, the report added.
Dubai’s population, which is expected to reach 3.5 million by 2020, is one of the key factors driving the emirate’s private education market, Colliers said. Moreover, around 11.5 per cent of the emirate’s population is comprised of millennials and children of school-going age.