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More than half of Jeddah’s private schools face closure

More than half of Jeddah’s private schools face closure

Recent rule changes require private schools to switch to more education-friendly accomodation

More than half of private schools in Jeddah are facing closure if they do not relocate from rented housing units within a year, according to reports.

Under a shakeup designed to make the education sector more appealing to investors the country’s Ministry of Education issued new rules eight months ago requiring private schools to move to buildings more suitable for education within two academic years.

Saudi Gazette cited Dakhil Allah Al-Suraisri, supervisor of a study submitted to the government, as saying 67 per cent or 279 schools were affected. These collectively serve 106,000 pupils and employ 15,000 staff, according to the study.

Al-Suraisri said the study carried out with Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry was designed to highlight issues facing schools if they move from their current locations, including a lack of space and financing from investors.

He encouraged the ministry to provide land plots on long-term lease, stating the ministry had 1,200 locations suitable for this purpose.

“Government schools won’t be able to accommodate pupils who will be leaving private schools if they are closed,” Al-Suraisri was quoted as saying. “Already some government schools operate in two shifts. In Jeddah alone the government itself is renting 300 buildings.”

A total of 133 private and international schools across the kingdom will soon shift to new buildings under construction following the new rules.

Read: Saudi partnership to invest $1.3bn in 100 international schools

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