The GCC private education market is expected to grow at an increasing rate, in the coming years, due to various the government initiatives, like Saudi Vision 2030, the rising awareness of primary education, requirement of higher education options, the need for overall improvement in the quality of education, and an increase in the population, including that of expatriates. The education market in the GCC region is expected to register a CAGR of 5%, as majority of the region’s population belongs to the school-going age group.
Key Market Trends Government Initiatives Toward a Developed Education Sector
Over the last few years, governments in the GCC region have undertaken a number of initiatives, most notably the introduction of favorable policies, which encourage private sector participation in the education sector. The governments in the GCC Countries have tried to increase the market share of private sectors in the industry by implementing initiatives like 100% foreign ownership. Furthermore, favorable demographics like majority of population in the school going age, rising expatriate population as a result of government policies providing 10-year residency visas and higher GDP per capita are also driving the demand for education in the GCC. The governments in the GCC region are also continuing to allocate sizable portions of their budget to the education sector.
As a result, the K-12 private education market has gained prominence over the past few years and has become an attractive opportunity for investors and school operators. This had led to a direct impact on the investments from the private sector to capitalize on government’s initiatives across the region.
Improvement in the Quality and Availability of Higher Education Options
In today’s world, with the steady growth of awareness among parents, educational institutions, and investors, about the need for primary education, there is a major demand for high-quality education, which will boost the tuition fees of private schools. But there is an insufficiency of educational resources in the market. The limited nature and shortage of resources available for the students is one of the biggest challenges for the K-12 education market in GCC. These countries are facing an acute shortage of skilled teachers and staff, the Pupil to teacher ratio is quite low across the region.
In order to improve the quality of education, several initiatives have been taken during the past few years such as establishing quality assurance authorities, building guidelines, and encouraging technology-driven education, among others, which have combined to display improvements across the quality of education. Based on the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018 published by World Economic Forum (WEF), Qatar and the UAE lead their GCC counterparts based on the quality of primary education, ranking 10th and 16th on the global scale, respectively. However, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait are ranked much lower than their regional counterparts.
Competitive Landscape The industry is quite fragmented, with many players operating in the private sector and many more entering, due to favorable investment options. Some of the pre-existing private players include Al- Jazeera Academy, British International School of Jeddah, Dhuha International School, Dubai International Academy, GEMS Education, International School of London, Nadeen International School, Taaleem, and The American International School of Muscat.
A lot of foreign investment deals have been taking place in the GCC region since 2019, along with mergers and acquisitions, under government initiatives, like Saudi vision 2030. The GCC private K12 market has a lot of opportunities and the potential to grow, in the coming future.
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