UAE takes global top spot in number of students enrolled in international schools
Source: Design Unlimited Partners , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue August 29, 2017 10:48 am

UAE. The UAE has the most number of students studying in premium, English international schools with 602,800 enrolees. The data was released by ISC Research, ahead of IPSEF Forum Middle East, where it will make a presentation on the growth of international schools in the Middle East region.

With 288,300 students, Saudi Arabia landed in second place, followed by China with 256,000 students.

“This development shows how increasingly important education has become in the Middle East, with governments across the region providing the right infrastructure and support for international schools to thrive,” said Rhona Greenhill, co-founder, IPSEF, which organizes the IPSEF Middle East scheduled on 27-29 September at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

New international school development opportunities for the Middle East will be the subject of a presentation by Nalini Cook, Head of Middle East Research, ISC Research where she will present the latest data on the English-medium K-12 international schools market in the region along with highlights of some of the development opportunities and challenges confronting the education sector in this part of the world.

IPSEF Middle East will also host a discussion of the market trends in education in the Gulf, taking a perspective on the impact of megatrends on education regionally. The presentation by Roland Hancock, Director-Education, PwC will cover nurseries, K-12, higher education and vocational training and provide insights on what is changing from a policy, operator and investor perspective and how each can react to the drivers of change.

Additional data from ISC Research, the leading provider of intelligence on the English-medium K-12 international schools market globally, shows Dubai is tops in the world as the leading international city in the world for international schools with 281, followed by Abi Dhabi with 151 is at 2nd place.

As a country, however, the UAE slipped to second with the most number of English premium international schools with 596, just behind China which leads the global market with 620.

International school operators are looking to the Middle East for future growth, with school population expected to reach 15 million by 2020. More than 50,000 schools will be needed to address the gap, which will be met largely by state-funded and operated schools.

“But international schools will play a significant role, not just in filling a small part of the need, but more importantly in providing a world-class education that will hopefully yield competitive future university graduates who will provide manpower that is much needed in the region’s still developing economies,” added Greenhill.

Other studies have shown that both local and expatriate populations in the GCC, in general, are willing to bear the high cost of education at the international schools. One study conducted by Umm Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia shows more than two-thirds in the Kingdom preferred to enrol their children at international schools that offer international curricula, English language skills, and modern teaching practices. In the UAE, there is a general preference for the British and American curriculum, along with curricula offered by India and international baccalaureate schools.

85 new international schools and international school campuses were set up from January 2016-2017, and a significant number is expected to be added in the next few years as international school operators aggressively take advantage of the massive opportunities offered in by the region’s growing education market.

IPSEF will also be featuring a new conference programme focusing on the higher education market in the region and will address key stakeholder groups involved in the higher education sector – such as colleges and universities who are looking to set-up branches or a new campus in the region, operators of existing higher education institutions, regulators as well as the supplier community that provides products, services and solutions for the higher education sector.

Dr. Warren Fox, Chief of Higher Education at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) noted Dubai’s increasingly important role as a leading regional education hub. Dubai has witnessed an average growth of over 10 per cent in student enrolment in the last decade. Over 40 per cent of all students in Dubai currently study at international campuses, which reflects Dubai’s appeal as an attractive higher education destination. Dubai is also home to the largest number of international campuses in the world.

This year’s IPSEF Middle East and Higher Education Forums is a must-attend event for local and international stakeholders who are eager to develop their business in the Middle East, learn from peers who have successfully achieved growth as well as understand the latest regulatory requirements that will help them navigate the education landscape throughout the region.

As interested among various stakeholder groups is expected to be high, those keen to attend are invited to register online at

Photo Caption: Rhona Greenhill, co-founder, IPSEF



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