Investors buying existing educational institutions, such as schools, must first get approval from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), officials have said.
The educational landscape is ripe for investment opportunities; however, prior KHDA approval is a must for transfer of ownership, KHDA said in a statement.
KHDA's statement follows a recent crisis at a school. As Gulf News reported last month, a management change at Rajagiri International School (RIS), located in Al Warqa, affected nearly 1,070 pupils.
According to parents, the owner of the school sold it to another group without the knowledge of the management. This move in the middle of the academic year jeopardised the quality of education imparted to the pupils. KHDA intervened and announced there would not be any immediate changes in management.
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"All schools, whether they change owners or change management, must seek KHDA approval," Mohammad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission in KHDA, said. Information on this requirement has been posted on the KHDA website.
Darwish said KHDA receives at least two applications for new schools every month.
Five new schools opened their doors to the public in the academic year 2011-12 and many more will open their doors in the coming two academic years (2012-13 and 2013-14), he said.
"Education provision is no laughing matter, and new owners must think about the final output and the quality of education they will provide before choosing to add education to their existing investment portfolio."
In the past, KHDA discovered that the new owners were not proficient when it came to quality education. These investors added an educational institution to their portfolio to diversify, but were unable to take crucial decisions relating to education provision or the management of the business.
Darwish said: "KHDA strongly recommends that new owners engage in a dialogue with us and keep us informed before a deal is clinched."