New schools to open in Dubai this academic year
Nine new schools will open in Dubai this year, setting a record for the largest number of new schools to open in an academic year since the development of Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in 2007.
The opening of these new schools will take the total number of private schools to 159, marking Dubai's rebound from a financial slowdown during the global economic crisis.
Investors are pumping in more money into school education with every passing year, as more families are moving to Dubai, a city enjoying peace and stability in an increasingly volatile region
Four of the nine schools, offering Indian curriculum, already opened earlier this year. Five more will open later this month as the new school year gets underway. These new schools will be able to accommodate more than 20,000 students as private schools already cater to some 225,000 students.
"The number of schools that are scheduled to open in 2013-14 is the largest number of new schools to open since KHDA was established six years ago,” said Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission at KHDA.
He explained that new investors were allowed to open schools if they met regulations set out by the authority.
"New investors and existing operators are continuing to open new schools. As a regulator, KHDA's role is to ensure that the regulations continue to be conducive for investments, while protecting the best interests of both the parents and investors,” he added.
The authority has developed several frameworks and worked on fee-regulation in the emirate.
"As long as investors, both existing and new, continue to submit applications in line with KHDA's academic plan guide, they will be allowed to open new schools,” said Darwish.
School investors believe the number of schools will continue to increase as more families move to the UAE.
"Dubai has weathered financial difficulties and is bouncing back very strongly. It has been the safest place in the Middle East with an increasing influx of nationals from Syria, Iran, Iraq and the wider Mena region,” said Mark Atkins, Head of Academics and Education, Evolvence Knowledge Investments (EKI).
The company successfully runs the Repton School in Dubai as it plans to open a branch in Abu Dhabi along with a third school, the Foremarke School.
"The quality of education is improving and Dubai is being recognised for this reason. Increased competition among schools is good news for parents as they will have a choice of more high quality schools,” he added.
The emirate's excellent school infrastructure is also supported by a growing higher education sector, with the UAE already holding the record for hosting the largest number of international branch campuses in the world.
Source: Khaleej Times