Urgent need for new schools across the UAE
Abu Dhabi focuses on building more schools while Dubai focuses on promoting theirs.
March 14, 2013 1:31 by M. Aldalou
Believe it or not, the United Arab Emirates’ private education sector is one of the biggest in the world and over the past five years, the student body has grown by 7 percent.
New data released by the International Conferences and Exhibitions, organiser of GETEX, a forum for student recruitment in the Middle East and Asia, taking place from April 17 to 19, emphasizes the urgency to introduce new schools across the country if there’s any hope to meet the growing demand over the years to come.
When Kipp spoke to Anselm Godhino, Managing Director of IC&E, we asked him to put that number in context for us.
“Yes, that number is big compared to the global environment, especially considering we have predominantly an expatriate population here,” he says. “Globally, you tend to have more of a growth within the population of a region rather than the expatriate turnaround that we have here. That growth percentage may not necessarily double in another five years but the emirates are focusing on it.”
Education officials have pointed out that by the year 2020, approximately four billion dirhams would have to be invested in Abu Dhabi’s private education to ensure that it can keep up with demand.
Godhino says that the capital is currently focusing on its ‘2030 vision’ to build more infrastructure, whereas Dubai – having already done that – will be focusing on promoting both international and national universities to a global audience, rather than just a local one.
“The number of universities in Dubai now does cater to the student demand, but the only way to sustain their growth is to make sure they’re all full,” he says. When asked whether he thought it would be challenging for both emirates to meet the growth – both in terms of infrastructure and filling them up with students – he said that he can’t help but admire the progress he’s already seen over the past few years.
“They’re very far-sighted here. They will do it. If they do build the infrastructure I believe they’ll be able to fill it up,” he says confidently. “And the more schools we have, the more the competition and the better the quality.” He adds that while the developed world still seems to be struggling to cope with the economic downturn, the UAE goes on with an upbeat attitude like the recession is a thing of the past.