According to this prediction, there will be a demand for 90,000 school seats
Ask any Dubai parent about the struggle of finding a school seat for their children, and they would validate it with numerous stories of long waiting lists and paying substantial deposits to stay in the reckoning.
That’s a demand that the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) acknowledges.
The Dubai education body reported that the student population Dubai has risen at a rate of 7 per cent CAGR over the last decade.
With the student headcount currently 225,099, a 7 per cent per annum growth rate would essentially mean that, in the next five years, Dubai will need 60 additional schools offering 90,000 seats to meet this demand.
“By 2020, with a conservative approach, we are looking at 50,000 more seats (in schools that offer British curriculum). Today, we have almost 70,000 seats. So, that’s almost doubling that number,” said Abdulla Al Karam, director and chairman of KHDA at the BBG Forum at Mina A’Salam on Monday.
Surely the figures pose a big challenge, but that’s not how Karam would like to look at it.
“I’d look at it as opportunity. I think this number is definitely achievable because we are looking at the trend of the last two years. Even during the economic crisis, this sector continued to grow. We’ve looked at all the schools that have opened up over the last few years.”
This number was deduced based on that demand.
This year, KHDA announced the opening of nine new schools. Four offer Indian curriculum, another four offer British curriculum and one offers French/IB curriculum.
It totalled the number of private schools in Dubai to 159.
Karam also highlighted how the British curriculum is the most preferred in Dubai’s vibrant global education platform.
A detailed look at the student population displayed that almost a third (32 per cent) went to British schools, while another 30 per cent went to Indian schools. American schools accounted for 19 per cent students while 7 per cent went to Ministry of Education-run schools and 3 per cent to schools with IB curriculum. The remaining 9 per cent went to ‘other’ schools, according to KHDA statistics.
It also claimed that the fees of British schools in Dubai was lower compared to the fees at independent or private day schools in the UK.
He added that they are working with the British regulation authority to ensure that the quality of education offered in Dubai is at a par with that in the UK.
“Prior to when the KHDA was set up many British schools were functioning. Now, we are in the process of ensuring all British schools are of high standard. We will work along with the British Schools Overseas (BSO) and they will join our inspection team. So when we inspect the schools they will also do their checks.
“In a year or two, those schools that are genuine will exist. The others won’t.”
© Emirates 24|7 2013Oct 2013