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GCC private education market hits $5bn

The value of private education market in the GCC has risen to $5 billion, with an increasing number of international schools, strong population growth and continued economic expansion, according to an IRR report.

“There is no doubt that private education investment expands more rapidly in this region than anywhere else in the world,” said Ralph Tabberer CEO of BBD (Better Broader Deeper) Education and chairman of this year’s Education Investment Mena Conference to be held in Dubai from October 21.

“While the rest of the world is experiencing public sector cuts with little school expenditure, private education in the GCC is growing rapidly,” he said.

Dubai is the ‘healthiest’ in terms of private education growth, followed closely by Abu Dhabi and Qatar, said Tabberer.

The three-day summit, which will take place at the Address Hotel, Dubai Mall, will examine investment, expansion and partnership opportunities for investors and operators in the private education market in Mena.

It will highlight the major opportunities for education operators, investors and financers to expand in the Middle East.

Speakers will discuss how increasing domestic and expatriate wealth in the region is causing more families to enroll their children into private education establishments.

Ashwin Assomull, partner at The Parthenon Group, UAE and speaker at the summit, said: “Private education in the region continues to outpace growth in the public sector. Both the higher education and K-12 segments are growing rapidly. One factor that has contributed to this growth is the increase in expatriates in the GCC, which has risen by 20 per cent since 2005.”

“In higher education in the UAE, the Western private sector is experiencing the highest growth at 15-20 per cent per annum compared to 2-6 per cent for non-western and government-aided universities,” he said.

Dr Ayoub Kazim, managing director of Tecom’s Education Cluster, said: “We have long seen the growth potential in the region’s higher education sector – indeed, that is what spurred us on to open our first universities at Dubai Knowledge Village in 2003. Ten years later, we have seen a further 25 renowned academic institutions open up across DKV and DIAC, in direct response to rising student numbers.”


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