The UAE has retained its spot of having the highest number of English-medium international schools worldwide, according to data from research firm International Schools Consultancy (ISC).
The Emirates has seen a 15.2 per cent year-on-year rise in the number of schools to reach 589, up from 511 last year.
Dubai leads the world for international schools by city with 276, while Abu Dhabi comes in third place with 154 schools, followed by Doha with 142.
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Overall, the ISC report showed that the total number of K-12 English-medium international schools worldwide – at the resumption of the new academic year in September – stood at 8,489.
About 1,504 such schools are located in the Middle East, which remains the largest sub-region for international schools in the world, the report added.
Along with the UAE, Saudi Arabia was the other GCC country to feature among the top 10 with 243 international schools.
The ISC’s data includes pre-schools, primary and secondary schools.
“These impressive numbers only confirm the continuing growth of the private, international school education system throughout the Gulf region,” said Rhona Greenhill, co-founder of the International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) Middle East which will be held in Dubai next week.
“That said, the business landscape is changing and this presents a number of challenges for private sector stakeholders.”
Overall, the ISC calculates that more than 4.3 million students are now being educated at over 8,200 international schools worldwide. By 2026, enrolment is projected to reach 8.7 million.
“With the international and private school markets continuing to grow, and as competition increases, it is increasingly critical that schools and investors planning to open new operations in education develop strategies for success,” added Greenhill.
Top 10 countries with the highest number of international schools
(As of September 2016)
6. Saudi Arabia