A new KHDA report released this week, said a continuation of the strong economy and sustained population growth will see Dubai gain an additional 60,000 school students by 2020.
However, the report, ‘Capacity to Grow-Opportunities in Dubai’s Education Market,’ warns that new schools opening in 2016 and after, can expect slower enrollment growth.
The KHDA says it expects enrollment growth in any new schools to return to what it calls, ‘a more traditional trajectory,’ when compared to the high rates experienced by schools which opened between 2010 to 2013.
The report notes, “it is too early to speculate on the pace of enrollment growth in the schools that have opened since 2013. It is clear from earlier periods that there is a correlation between a higher number of schools opening and a subsequent slower rate of enrollment take-up. A cyclical pattern of faster and slower take-up rates of enrollment in new schools over time should be considered a normal part of the education market in Dubai.”
The report does note however, “determining Dubai’s future requirements for specific types of private schools requires an understanding of the current and future supply of schools, the demand for different types of schools and the pace at which these schools reach capacity.”
The report highlights that this depends on a range of factors, which include: Dubai’s business cycle, the number of schools being opened around the same time, and aspects like school location and parental perception of quality.
For most private schools which opened in Dubai over the last decade, the average take-up pattern is to reach 30 per cent of its full capacity in the second year of operation; 50 per cent by the third year; 60 per cent by the fourth year; and 80 per cent by the seventh year.
However, the report does note variances in this pattern. In the past ten years, most Indian schools, schools offering a high quality education and those with a smaller than average capacity all generally displaying faster uptakes, while US curriculum schools in general had a slower than average rate of uptake.
The report highlights that uptake rates also differ depending on when the school was opened. Those opening between 2003 and 2009 recorded the slowest uptake rate, while those which opened between 2010 and 2013 recorded the fastest.
Approximately half of total enrollment growth has come from families living in the newer areas of Dubai, these include: Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, Jebel Ali, Emirates Hills, Dubailand, Nad al Sheba and Academic City. More established areas such as Bur Dubai, Deira, Al Garhoud, and Al Muhaisnah continue to experience modest growth.
Interestingly, thirteen per cent of Dubai’s private school students live outside of Dubai, with the majority coming from Sharjah.
The report ends by saying, “Further investment is required to build additional new private schools to satisfy the demand for places. To match the diversity of Dubai’s population, a diversity in the supply of schools offering different curricula and innovation in education approaches is required. For investors who understand the importance of delivering high quality education in an innovative, fast-moving landscape, Dubai’s private schools sector promises long-term growth and new investment opportunities.”