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Higher Education Market in KSA

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Dubai, UAE, 18 November 2019 – Colliers International, The Global Commercial Real Estate Leader, released its latest white paper on the higher education market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the 8th in the Knowledge series of research papers on education in the MENA region. This paper provides institutions and investors with the key components marking up the current future of the higher education landscape.

Similar to K12 sector, higher education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also the largest single education market in the combined Arabian Gulf region. Based on latest available data, a total of 1.62 million students were enrolled at higher education institutes across Saudi Arabia. The demand for higher education is driven by factors including demographic drivers, an increase in private sector participation, economic diversification and Vision 2030.

Mansoor Ahmed, Director of Healthcare, Education and Public Private Partnerships (PPP), highlighted “When combined, those factors are set to increase demand for the provision of private education both in coverage and quality. This is supported by the growth in population which stood at 34.2 Million in June 2019, rising from 27.1 Million in 2010. Similar to other GCC countries, KSA also has a young population profile igniting sustainable demand for higher education in the long run.”

“Based on The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), Population projection of 2.5% per annum, the total demand for higher education enrolment will reach 2.3 million in 2030, compared to 1.62 million in 2017. This means that the Kingdom will require an additional 640,000 new places by 2030. However, private sector must take the lead and focus on opening branch campuses of International universities targeting those facilities that currently host majority of the Saudi students overseas, which is possible now with the new announcement enabling foreign universities branch campuses to operate in the Kingdom. In addition, the future of the higher education market in KSA will depend on provision of majors/degrees and courses to match the requirements of a changing market condition. We expect that the demand will move from traditional courses such as Islamic Studies, Humanities and Business and Management to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Science, Nuclear Energy, Solar Energy, etc.” Mansoor adds.