A classroom in Mussaffah Abu Dhabi [Illustrative image] Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: A total of 10 new schools offering affordable fee structures are set to open in the emirate over the next three years, education authorities announced in the capital on December 6.

The schools will add to the more than 180 private schools in the emirate, which play a major role in providing a choice of 15 different curriculums for students.

The announcement about the new schools was made at the annual Private School Forum, where 450 school leaders met with education authorities to discuss the future of education in the emirate. Details on what curriculums the new schools will offer were, however, not immediately available.

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Speaking at the forum, Dr Ali Al Nuaimi, director at the Adek (Abu Dhabi Department of Education), said the authority will readily make plots and vacant public school buildings available to investors for the development of new schools.

“Education is the cornerstone of the UAE’s national development process, and the private education system is a vital source of support for the government’s aspirations to provide high quality programmes, while supporting the economic structure of the country,” Dr Al Nuaimi added.

“Abu Dhabi emirate aspires to stand out as one of the most successful [hubs] in providing quality education while continuing to focus on moral education and national identity,” said Sara Musallam, acting executive director of Adek’s licensing sector.

The cost of education has long been a concern in the UAE, with 2016 market surveys finding that parents here spend more than a million dirhams to put each child through school and university education.

In response, the Abu Dhabi Executive Council approved in June an Adek proposal for the development of private schools under a new model. The model will limit annual tuition fees to between Dh20,000 to Dh30,000 per child. The schools will be set up under public-private partnerships, and a pilot institution to test the model will be launched at the start of the 2018-2019 academic year in September.

At Thursday’s meeting, authorities released the findings of the annual parents’ survey on education. A new portal was also launched to connect private schools to the Adek.

Schools, on the other hand, showcased their experiences and findings on teaching Arabic language, key strategies of school improvement, governance, curriculums and methods of learning.