Dubai has currently 169 private schools and their number is expected to jump drastically in the next few years due to the increasing number of students in the city. Experts predict that World Expo 2020 will attract more and more expats with their families, so by 2020, there will be around 250 private schools in Dubai.
This year, 11 new schools opened doors in Dubai in order to accommodate the larger number of pupils, making education one of the most successful and rapidly growing businesses here. Last week, Dr. Abdullah Al Karam, Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said that by the end of the decade, there will be 80 new private schools in Dubai, an extraordinary increase of nearly 50% for only 5-6 years. According to him, these new educational institutions will be needed as pupils are expected to be 366,000 by 2020. In comparison, there are currently 243,000 students in Dubai, also based on KHDA estimations.
The idea is that the World Expo, which will be held in the emirate in 2020 for duration of six months, will not only attract businesses and visitors, but also workforce. This means many families will arrive to live and work in Dubai together with their children, adding to the already growing number of newcomers recorded each year. These new private schools are also expected to offer high-quality education and world standards that will provide Dubai pupils will equal opportunities to those available in the UK and the US. It sounds great, but English, American and French curriculums don’t mean equally good education. This was again proved at the latest PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests, which showed that UAE students as a whole had 20% lower scores than the international average.
Meanwhile, tuition fees have also increased this academic year for many schools in Dubai, by 1.74%-3.48%, adding up to the burden of Dubai families and their budgets. Logic says that with the opening of new schools, fees should eventually drop (or at least stop jumping), but in Dubai’s case, this is unlikely. But parents can at least hope they and their kids will have greater choice of schools and global education brands in the coming years.