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UAE dominates the international school market

Student enrolment at Dubai’s international schools has risen by 40% since 2009

Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE dominates the international school market, a study conducted by the International School Consultancy Group (ISC) has found.

Research and data collected and analysed by the consultancy found that the UAE had the highest number of international schools both in the Middle East and globally with 433 international schools.

ISC defines international schools as those that deliver a curriculum wholly or partly in English outside an English-speaking country.

The study found that the world’s leading city for international schools is Dubai where growth has been dramatic in recent years. There are currently 233 international schools in Dubai alone. ISC predicts that Dubai will see continued strong growth for several years to come.

Student enrolment at Dubai’s international schools has risen by 40 per cent since 2009 to 191,000. Total annual tuition fee income has increased by 55 per cent since 2009 and for the 2012-2013 academic year was $1.2 billion (around Dh4.4 billion).

According to ISC market intelligence, Dubai’s schools are currently at 90 per cent capacity and its premium schools (the most sought after and typically larger international schools) are operating at, or near, full capacity with waiting lists. The growth in student enrolment is in part due to the recent increase in the number of Emiratis making international schools their education choice — an increase of 34 per cent within a decade.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority predicts that student enrolment in Dubai will grow by 7 per cent per annum for at least the next five years. Sixty school developments (both new schools and expansions) are planned, several of which will be accepting students in September this year including The Safa British Academy, GEMS Winchester and Cambridge International Schools, Dubai English Speaking School and Nord Anglia International School.

According to the very latest ISC data that was presented at the Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions Exhibition and Gulf Education Forum, there are currently 1,213 international schools in the Middle East teaching over 1 million students. This is 30 per cent of all international pupils worldwide.