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Private education is a continuously growing big business in Dubai

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KHDA Dubai Enrolment figures in Dubai’s private schools sector continue to show strong growth, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has revealed. The 2012/13 academic year saw an 8.7% increase in student enrolment from the 2011/12 academic year, a higher growth rate than the 7.1% recorded in 2011/12 and the 5.7% growth in 2010/11, according to the Private Schools Landscape. The report is produced annually by KHDA in cooperation with the Dubai Statistics Centre and private schools in Dubai.

It is not known how public schools perform, as since 2007 when KHDA was established with the aim to regulate Dubai’s private schools, there is almost no news about the free of charge government-backed schools for Emiratis. By now, 56% of the Emirati children who are entiteled to government provided free of charge education are enrolled in expensive private schools, most of which still perform bellow international average standards. Shinning example of such schools is Repton Dubai.

However, aligned to growth in student enrolment, the number of teachers in Dubai’s private schools also increased by 8.7%, totaling 14,333 in 2012/13. Nearly a quarter (23%) of all teachers were new to their school in 2012/13, more than half of whom were recruited from other countries. Such fact may suggest that many teachers are not yet familiar with the cultural differences and the environment in the city.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General of KHDA, said: “Over the past year, Dubai has witnessed growth across many strategic sectors, creating greater employment opportunities for skilled professionals. New and existing schools have shown they are able to keep up with the demand created by this growth. That the majority of new teachers in Dubai’s schools were recruited from abroad proves that Dubai continues to be a highly sought-after destination for talented educators worldwide.”

However, various reports on recruitment practices in the sector provide also other views that are not that much favorable for many teachers. Some doubt their qualifications, while others question their motives to come and teach in the country.

Six new private schools opened in Dubai in 2012/13, bringing the total to 153. According to KHDA report, 143 private schools were inspected this year. Offering 15 international curricula, including those from the UK, US, India and the International Baccalaureate, these schools educate students from 177 different nationalities. More than half (56.6%) of Emirati students in Dubai currently attend private schools.

A total of 225,099 students were enrolled in Dubai’s private schools in 2012/13, making up 88.7% of the total school student population.

The up-to-date data provided by the Private Schools Landscape allows potential and existing institutions to make informed decisions, and is vital for ensuring transparency and continued growth of the sector, according to KHDA’s press release.

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