The growing demand for education in Dubai will increase the number of schools by 70 per cent in less than a decade, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has predicted.
Speaking at Destination Dubai 2020 conference on Tuesday, Kalthoom Al Beloushi, director of institutional development at KHDA, said that based on the education sector’s historical growth over the last 10 years, 110 new schools are expected to enter the market in the next seven years to accommodate 130,000 students.
KHDA is a regulatory authority that is responsible for the growth, direction and quality of private education and learning in Dubai . It supports the improvement of schools, universities, training institutes and other human resource sectors.
Al Beloushi said the entry of new schools is expected to slow down the growth of tuition fees in Dubai . A number of expatriates, which make up the majority of the population, send their children to private schools in the country and are finding that the high education cost is eating up a major portion of the household budget. A research by HSBC showed that the UAE is the fourth most expensive country for foreigners to study and live in.
“The entry of new schools  will somehow slow down the increases or shake up the market, because that would mean there will be more options for people to choose from,” Al Beloushi said.
The new schools will mainly be operated for profit, although the KHDA is also encouraging the entry of non-profit educational institutions. Dubai is home to 153 private schools offering programmes to 225,000 students across 15 different curricula. Private schools cater to the majority of Dubai’s population, about 88 per cent.
Al Beloushi said there is a rising investor interest to tap Dubai’s fast-growing market for education. “We see investors on a daily basis. A lot of people are interested in opening early learning centres as well as higher education and training institutes. There is a high demand for education. Dubai as a destination is a nice place to be in. It’s safe and you have everything around you,” he added.