Although British nationals only represent roughly 2% to 3% of the population, the British curriculum remains constantly within the top three offered in the UAE’s private school sector. The popularity rests not only on the large presence of British Nationals in the UAE, but as it is also favoured by number of other nationalities such as, Indian, Pakistani, and nationals from different Arab and Commonwealth Countries.

By end of academic year of 2014-2015, schools offering the British Curriculum stand at number one in Dubai and number three in Abu Dhabi, the business and Capital Cities of the UAE respectively.

Mansoor Ahmed, Director of Healthcare, Education, Development Solutions and Public Private Partnership, MENA, have presented the findings of the research in the Education Investor, Exporting Excellence 2016 conference in the UK on Thursday, October 27, 2016. Key findings of the White Paper are:

  • Dubai
    • Out of a total of 255,000 Private school students the British Curriculum schools represent some 85,000 students, approximately 33% of total students in private schools in Dubai, followed by the Indian curriculum (31%) and the US curriculum (18%).
    • By 2025, Dubai will require an additional 166,000 to 224,000 seats in private education sector out of which approximately 55,000 to 74,000 will be for British Curriculum Schools.
    • With an average size of 1,500 students per school, Dubai requires an estimated 37 to 49 new British Curriculum Schools by 2025 or roughly three to five schools every year.
  • Abu Dhabi
    • Students enrolled at British curriculum schools represent 22% of the private sector student body, some 50,000 out of the total of 223,000 students in private schools in Abu Dhabi. Trailing behind are the US curriculum (24%) and Ministry of Education (MoE) curriculum (23%).
    • By 2025, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is estimated to require an additional 172,000 to 230,000 seats in private education sector out of which approximately 39,000 to 52,000 will be for British Curriculum Schools.
    • With an average size of 1,300 students per school, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi requires an estimated 30 to 40 new British Curriculum Schools by 2025 or roughly three to four schools every year.
With a long history, successful market entrants and sustainable demand the British curriculum and the private school sector is underpinned by strong fundamentals. This white paper presents the challenges and opportunities for investors / operators who would like expand in this lucrative sector. Clyde & Co., a leading global law firm operating in UAE and across the Middle East Region, who have advised many British schools which have established or are contemplating to establish or extend their operations in the UAE, have also contributed to this white paper to provide an opinion on various legal matters involved in establishing a school in the UAE.