Saudi Arabia's private, international K-12 education sector on cusp of massive growth
Source: Design Unlimited Partners for L.E.K. Consulting , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Thu February 7, 2019 12:46 pm

SAUDI ARABIA.  Saudi Arabia’s private, international K-12 segment could be at an inflexion point, according to a report released by L.E.K. Consulting, a leading global consultancy firm.

In Private K-12 opportunity in Saudi Arabia, presented at a recent trade event hosted by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Ashwin Assomull, Partner, L.E.K. Consulting, highlighted a number of important key growth drivers for the kingdom’s private K-12 segment.

Saudi Arabia has a large and growing school age population that is expected to reach 7.6 million by 2030. However, it also has the lowest private sector education penetration compared to its Gulf neighbours. This can only mean that there is a lot of headroom for growth to address the huge gap in private education, fuelled in part by the projected student population boom,” Assomull explained.

Equally important, according to Assomull, is the fact that Saudi Arabia’s economy is expected to recover in the next five to seven years, which could lead to, among others, increased state investment and key initiatives in the education sector as a whole. As part of the its Vision 2030, the government wants to increase the number of students enrolled in private schools from 15% to 25%.

Another interesting development that is being seriously considered in the kingdom is the granting of 100% ownership to private schools, which could lead to a possible increase in activity in education investment amongst private and international school owners,” he continued.

According to L.E.K. Consulting’s research, Saudi Arabia’s international K-12 segment is currently estimated to be worth $1bn, compared to $2.7bn in the UAE, and $700mn in Kuwait which only highlights the still massive potential for growth that the kingdom’s private, international education sector can expect, if proper measures and key strategies are implemented.

Though the prospects for private, international education look bright, Assomull cautioned future investors about the complex regulatory landscape that they need to navigate once they decide to enter Saudi Arabia. “This and the challenging human capital requirements are major considerations that need to be addressed; but once overcome, the rewards can be manifold,” Assomull ended.

What future private education operators should be thinking about?
1. Choosing the right local partner in Saudi Arabia
2. Strong relationships with regulators
3. Understanding changing demographics and demand are key to optimising operations
4. Reputation management is critical as parents’ decisions are based mostly on news
5. Differentiation is key to stand out among competition

Photo Caption: Student population boom along with government initiatives to boost Saudi private education sector



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