Dubai: The UAE has retained its position as the country with the most number of English-medium international schools, with 589 such schools, The International Schools Consultancy (ISC) said on Wednesday.
Last year, the UAE had 511 international schools — enough to place it on top of the list in 2015. Going by city, Dubai leads the world for international schools, with 276 such schools. More than a dozen different national curriculums are taught in Dubai schools.
City-wise, Abu Dhabi comes in third place with 154 schools, followed by Doha with 142.
There is a huge demand for private international schools in the UAE as most of the population comprises expats, who come from around 200 countries.
The data was released by the ISC, a global market intelligence and research firm focused on international English-speaking schools.
The breakdown is part of a report that will be presented in full at the upcoming International Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) Middle East on September 27-28 at Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Dubai.
Richard Gaskell, director for international schools at the ISC, will present the latest data on international school growth in the Middle East, plus a detailed analysis on the employment of teachers at international schools in the region.
At the start of the new school year, the ISC report showed the total number of K-12 English-medium international schools worldwide at 8,489, with about 1,504 such schools located in the Middle East, which remains the largest sub-region for international schools in the world.
Following the UAE, other countries which figured in the top 10 include China (550), Pakistan (455), India (408) and Spain (353).
Saudi Arabia and Japan were at sixth and seventh place with 243 each, followed by Egypt and Brazil at eight and ninth place with 191 each, and Indonesia at 10th with 190.
“These impressive numbers only confirm the continuing growth the private, international school education throughout the Gulf region,” said Rhona Greenhill, co-founder, IPSEF. “That said, the business landscape is changing and this presents a number of challenges for private sector stakeholders which we hope to address at the forthcoming forum where we have invited experts on how the private, international schools sub-sector can continue its growth trajectory.”
Overall, the ISC calculates that more than 4.3 million students are now being educated at over 8,200 international schools worldwide. By 2026, enrolment is projected to reach 8.7 million.
“With the international and private school markets continuing to grow, and as competition increases, it is increasingly critical that schools and investors planning to open new operations in education develop strategies for success. IPSEF Middle East hopes to provide a unique reference point for all those involved in the financing, planning, design, delivery and management of a new school project,” said Greenhill. Further information on the conference agenda and registration details can be found at www.ipsef.net/middle-east.
Top 10 countries with international schools
UAE: 589 schools
Saudi Arabia: 243
Source: The International Schools Consultancy