The UAE continues to lead the quality of education in the region
Source: PwC , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed December 5, 2018 1:32 pm

UAE. PwC Middle East launched today it’s latest report “Understanding Middle East Education: UAE Country Profile”  part of a series examining education sectors across various countries in the Middle East.

The updated 2018 report, launched today, looks at enrollment trends and education outcomes of the UAE’s education system across its three main education stages - PreK. K-12 all the way up to Higher Education - and examines provisions in both public and private education systems across the country.

Sally Jeffery, Global Education & Skills Network Leader, said: “The UAE is one of the more mature education markets in the region and remains a draw for investors, educators and students. Its economy continues to be among the most competitive, and the quality of its primary and  higher education systems rank among the top 20 globally, according to the latest Global Competitiveness Index rankings.”

The findings across the different education levels show that Pre-K enrolment is expected to grow in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as the emphasis on the importance of early childhood education increases and the move towards higher female participation rates in the workforce becomes more pronounced. Dubai has reported having more than 200 nurseries, around 50 more than was reported by Abu Dhabi, however, nursery enrolment in Abu Dhabi has seen faster growth.

In K-12, private education, enrolment is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~4%, almost 4 times higher than the rate of public education enrolment growth. PwC estimates that more than 150,000 new students will enroll between 2016 and 2021 in private K-12 if enrolment growth continues at the current rate – although some of this will be absorbed by capacity in existing schools with low utilization rates, particularly those most recently opened.

Dubai’s average K-12 fees per student in private schools is around 26,000 AED p.a., with the majority of schools charging fees below 30,000 AED.  This is particularly the case where schools tend be bigger and have ratings of “Good” or lower. The majority of “Very Good” and “Outstanding” Schools charge average fees over 40,000 AED. The market gap for high quality schools in the 30,000-50,000 AED range unfortunately looks likely to persist.

Sally added: “We have analysed the private K-12 market at different stages of maturity, and we continue to see a persistent shortage of affordable quality private schools. There is a clear market opportunity there."

On the other hand,the Higher Education environment which has become more fragmented in the last couple of years, is  uncertain, with some enrolment drops seen in 2016. The biggest drop in private higher education enrolment in the UAE came from Dubai’s non free zone universities. However, the market will see some recovery with a potential enrolment growth of 5,500 students by 2021.

Sally ended: “Higher Education has seen interesting shifts, both globally and in the region. Students are shifting towards destinations that not only offer quality education, but more attractive employment and residency options as well. The UAE's latest student visa reforms and inflow of reputable higher education institutions are steps in the right direction.”

For the full report, visit:

Photo Caption: Sally Jeffery, Global Education & Skills Network Leader

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