x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

High-profit options dominate Abu Dhabi school openings

While investors are queuing up to meet Abu Dhabi's growing private education needs, the majority are only interested in opening high-profit UK and US curriculum options.

ABU DHABI // While investors are queuing up to meet Abu Dhabi's growing private education needs, the majority are only interested in opening high-profit UK and US curriculum options.

In the next seven years, the Abu Dhabi Education Council estimates more than 100 schools will be needed to accommodate the growing pupil population - at an investment of between Dh3 billion and Dh4bn.

The demand will see even more of a boost when a housing rule forces all Abu Dhabi government employees to move to the capital.

The country's biggest school operators, including Gems Education and Taaleem, have announced plans to open up more British and International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi. Rabeeh Primary and Royal Academy have announced plans to educate 3,600 pupils.

Several UK independent schools are also setting up branch campuses in the capital. Repton, a 456-year-old school with a branch in Dubai, will open its second UAE campus on Reem Island next year.

And two other British schools, Najmat Al Reem Arabic Academy and Najmat Al Reem International Academy, for 2,000 pupils, are also due to open next year on Reem Island.

Cranleigh-Abu Dhabi will open on Saadiyat Island also next year. It can accommodate 1,600 pupils.

Schools offering UK, US and IB curriculums tend to operate on fee structures of between Dh15,000 and Dh98,000 meaning they will not necessarily ease the strain on Asian schools, where parents pay between Dh3,000 and Dh10,000 a year.

aahmed@thenational.ae