Dubai needs to double school places by 2023

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Dubai will need to double the number of private school places within 10 years to accommodate the rising demand, a new education report has warned.

About 450,000 students are expected to be enrolled in the emirate’s private schools by 2022-23, while there are presently about 250,000 available places for the 225,000 students enrolled in 2012-13.

The number of students enrolled in Dubai private schools rose 8.7 percent – or 17,981 students - in 2012-13 compared to the year before, while the average annual growth rate over the past decade is 7.3 percent, according to the government’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Meanwhile, 30 new schools have opened since 2007, including six in 2012-13.

If the average annual rate continues for the next 10 years, the total number of students in private schools will double.

Schools are already at 89 percent capacity, with primary schools 93.4 percent full.

The middle school grades are at 90.7 percent capacity, while senior years (81.6 percent capacity) have far more available places.

The best KHDA-rated schools are the hardest to enter. The dozen schools rated as ‘outstanding’ are at 96.3 percent capacity, compared to 85 percent capacity at schools deemed ‘unsatisfactory’.

UK and Indian curriculum schools also are more popular (both are at 94 percent capacity) than private Emirati schools (93 percent capacity) and US curriculum schools (82 percent capacity).

Schools with lower tuition fees are also more sought after. Those with an average fees of less than AED10,000 have only 4.5 percent of places available.

UK curriculum schools continue to have the most enrolled students, accounting for 31.5 percent of all private school students, followed by Indian curriculum schools (30 percent) and US curriculum schools (21.2 percent).

However, enrolments are increasing at a faster rate in schools that offer the IB program (78 percent growth in enrolments) and the Philippines curriculum (58 percent growth), according to the KHDA.

Meanwhile, the KHDA continues to be concerned about the high turnover of teachers.

About 16 percent of the teachers in a private school during the 2011-12 academic year were not teaching at that school in 2012-13.

“Given the growth in the number of teachers required to keep pace with student enrolments, the proportion of teachers new to a school is relatively high with 23.4 percent of all teachers being new to their school in 2012-13,” the report says.

“More than half of these new teachers to private schools have been recruited from other countries.”

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Posted by: Russell Hopkins

I would be interested in how these schools are operated. I am invovled in PPP schools in Australia and would loe an opportunity to present our capabilities to the right authorities.

Posted by: Mike

KHDA themselves are a (but not the sole or major, just a single) constraint in the process. If I want to start a primary school, the process of finding a site, and obtaining approvals by KHDA of the facilities and institution, takes around 12 months. If you don't time it with the school year, this means you have to absorb the rent for that time plus the cost of staff and applications, which can be something like 1M AED before you get income from one parent (remember, they are your customer). This means that the large private education companies are the ones who can start these enterprises, and they don't want to open new competition for their own schools, which aren't getting satisfactory ratings in the first place. AB, please use journalism. All the info for a proper analysis is within your various articles on the topic.

Posted by: Billy

The focus needs to be on increasing the quality of the education offered not just the number of places available. If you look at the standards achieved by the private schools here and compare that to the grammar schools in the UK they are a long way behind. The schools here hide behind average UK results which is not the right comparison as the average UK results include results from tough inner city schools and comprehensives from deprived areas. The issues with which such schools in the UK have to contend and that drive down their results do not exist in the UAE private schools. I also hope this increased competition will start to drive school fees down and not just allow new schools to jump on the excessive fees bandwagon.

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