A high population growth rate remains the key factor in the growing demand for education in Doha. The population of Qatar reached 2.21 million in 2014 from 1.45 million in 2008, with current projections anticipating a further increase to 3.09 million at a 4% growth rate and 3.53 million at a 6% growth rate by 2022. Given that Qatar’s population is primarily constituted by expatriates, falling within Generation X, Y and Z, this translates into a wide base of young parents and school attendees. Further the transient nature of Doha’s population leads to a preference for international curriculums, typically American or English, due to their transferable nature, and for private education choices. Additionally a large number of the Qatari Nationals population also prefer to send their children to private rather than government schools.
All of these factors are attracting private education providers and operators with the resultant growth in new K-12 schools within Doha.
Mansoor Ahmed, Director of Healthcare, Education and PPP at Colliers International explained: “Qatar’s rapid economic development is translating positively into a larger population and expanding education sector. Given that a well-run school can achieve profit margins of around 20% once stabilization years are complete, private investors and operators are increasingly looking at the Qatar market as a major opportunity.”
The report reveals a number critical success factors for the education sector in Qatar that investors and developers should carefully consider.
Establishing and maintaining a good working relationship with the Supreme Education Council (SEC) is essential in ensuring a positive reputation. As the SEC is responsible for approving any expansion plans and for considering any requests for increased tuition fees the importance of this relationship cannot be understated.
The quality of teaching staff is critical to the long term success of a school, however, similar to other countries in the GCC attracting and retaining quality staff is a major challenge in Qatar.
Existing and new schools can also benefit if a link between leading universities and the schools is established, which could possibly lead to students continuing into further education cycles. If located in close proximity there is also the possibility of shared facilities.
“As new schools are opened, competition will increase and certain areas will require extra focus to ensure the long-term success of an establishment. For example the provision of facilities for after school clubs or sports activities. These facilities add considerable costs to a school both to build and operate, but can often be linked to the school brand or ethos.” Ahmed concluded.