ABU DHABI // With kindergarten pupils making up nearly 20 per cent of the private schools population, investors are being encouraged to open more schools catering to the early years education.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council, which regulates private schools in the emirate, recently held a workshop for about 60 prospective and current investors to offer information on the business opportunities available in the education market.
It presented statistics for the 2016-2017 academic year, saying there are 191 private schools currently in operation across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region catering to 245,000 pupils, including about 45,000 who are in kindergarten.
This is an increase from the 2015-2016 academic year, when there were about 236,000 pupils enrolled in 186 private schools operating in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Gharbia. About 42,530 pupils were in kindergarten last year, according to the Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector (PSQA) Annual Report 2015/2016.
“Due to Adec’s full support with investors and operators, more schools have been opening in the past few years, keeping up with student enrollments in private schools, which is expected to grow at an average rate of five percent in the next few years,” said Dr Tareq Al Amiri, business development manager for the PSQA. “The education market in Abu Dhabi has witnessed sustainable growth in the past few years due to investors becoming more familiar with current and future market needs, which is exactly what we’d like to achieve and witness here in Adec.”
Dr Al Amiri said this year Adec for the first time launched the “tailor-made investment workshop” to showcase the unique opportunities available.
“Our main aim is to keep investors updated on our framework, while guiding them on what is exactly required to start up a new school or refurbish an existing one, especially since we now encourage stand-alone kindergartens schools,” said Dr Al Amiri.
Mariam Saqer, executive director at the Al Ain Educational Investment and a presenter at the workshop, said there is a “huge demand for kindergarten and/or foundation school students.”
Ms. Saqer, who overseas the operations of the Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys, said the school started out catering to younger students to meet the education needs of the early years population.
Khaled Al Junaibi, a prospective investor who attended the workshop, said he plans on opening a new American school in Al Ain next year that will initiallly cater to 1,300 pupils.
“As a potential investor I gained more knowledge about how to mitigate things with Adec and enhance our partnership to help benefit more students,” Mr Al Junaibi said. “I particularly liked the idea of Adec inviting speakers to represent the banking and finance operations of things, which helped offer transparent and clear information on what the exact process is for investors.”