Sharjah: Beam, known for its Creative Science brand of schools in the UAE, is planning to launch at least two more schools in Sharjah, its CEO Salah Bukhatir told Gulf News.
In an interview, Bukhatir said the new schools could be different from its Creative Science brand of American and British schools, which are “dual curriculum”, following the Ministry of Education curriculum for Arabic language, Islamic studies and social studies.
“They [the new schools] may be of other curricula, such as the CBSE Indian curriculum, but that’s something that isn’t concrete yet. But two more schools in Sharjah are coming. The first one will not be launched before two years from now,” said Bukhatir, who is also the chairman of Beam.
Beam is an acronym for Bukhatir Education Advancement and Management International, a subsidiary of the Sharjah-based Bukhatir Group.
Beam runs five schools: two International School of Creative Science (one each in Sharjah and Dubai) following the UK curriculum; two American School of Creative Science in Sharjah; and one American School of Creative Science in Dubai.
Bukhatir said a total 7,500 students currently study in the five schools, which will eventually enrol 25,000 students.
“In the future, I don’t think we are going to do too many curricula; we may add one or two more curricula, and that’s it. We won’t open too many schools. We may consider the IB curriculum; and at least one school will be Indian.”
The school sector in the UAE is expanding — around 10 new schools are expected to open every year for the next decade in Dubai alone, an official report said recently.
Bukhatir welcomed the rising competition among schools, saying it will “force schools to do the best they can”. He also pointed out that there is a need for schools catering to residents of all income levels. Bukhatir said an annual tuition fee of Dh45,000 to Dh50,000 can be described as an average for a mid-market school in Dubai.
“I think we need more schools in all segments, and there should be competition in all segments, because there are, even in the high bracket schools, schools which are not doing enough. They are charging high fees but they are not doing enough. And you have schools in the lower bracket, although they have restrictions in tuition [fees], yet they are doing very well and you see very good results,” Bukhatir added.
He said “education is a service” which must go beyond regular studies. “Our primary objective is to provide good quality education, yes, but it’s not only about the curriculum and preparing students for tests so they can enter the best universities. It’s also about character building and personality development and instilling values.”
Bukhatir said that is why the Creative Science schools also focus on Arabic and Islamic studies and moral education.
Starting from next academic year, which begins in September, Bukhatir said Beam has decided to offer full scholarships to the children of the martyrs of the UAE Armed Forces, which will last until they graduate. At the moment, the scholarships will be offered at Dubai schools, he added. There will also be special discounts offered to children of individuals serving in the army.