Anywhere from 15 to 20 new private schools are set to open up in Dubai during the 2016 to 2017 academic year, amounting to the highest number of schools to have ever been opened in one year in the emirate.

This is good news for parents who are concerned about the shortage of seats  – according to a report by KHDA only 11 per cent of seats (298,341 seats) in Dubai private schools were available during the 2015-16 academic year.

Dr Abdullah Al Karam, director-general of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) believes that more schools are opening up because the education sector gives safe returns to investors, with education continuing to grow even during tough economic times.

school, classroom, teacher

“We are expecting 15 to 20 schools to open next year. This is the highest number of schools opening in one year that we have ever witnessed,” said Al Karam, who believes it’s a positive move. “Having new schools enter the market also prompts schools to compete to offer the best services and fees to parents and students. This will make schools strive to have unique selling points and even have competitive fees.”

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With 173 schools in Dubai 2016, housing a little more than 265,000 students from over 183 different countries, and school fees at anywhere from Dhs20,000 a year to Dhs100,000 – it’s no wonder that private school revenue is responsible for 1.78 per cent of Dubai’s Gross Domestic Product. The amount of students in Dubai is growing too, up nearly six per cent from 2015 when there was a reported 255,208 students.

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The most popular curriculum found in Dubai’s schools is the UK’s, with 65 out of the 173 schools using it. The Indian curriculum is offered in 32 of the school, while 31 offer the US curriculum. The rest offer a mix of International Baccalaureate (IB), Minister of Education, Iranian, French, Philippines, and Pakistani.

On the whole, Dubai’s students seem to be relatively satisfied, with 78 per cent of middle school students claiming to be happy at school.

This was contrasted, however, by concerns from educators that 34 per cent of students in middle school felt “so sad or hopeless that they stopped doing some usual activities.”

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With more and more expats flocking to Dubai with their families each year, only good can come from opening more schools. You can never have too much education, and as mentioned earlier, competition can only encourage more unique selling points and more competitive pricing.

However, making sure your students are happy is just one part of the problem. A recent study showed that three quarters of the UAE’s teachers are looking for another job. Hopefully an increase in schools might offer a solution…