UAE’s Education Sector Has Massive Potential To Grow In Coming Years – Tesol Arabia Conference 2015

The renowned TESOL Arabia Organization devoted for the professional development of its members teachers; held the 21st annual International Conference & Exhibition (TACON) 2015 concluded in Dubai yesterday. One of the most popular English Language Teaching (ELT) conferences in the world; the event beheld three days of networking and constructive communication among professionals who use English as a medium of instruction, in order to promote and maintain the excellence of their work weather its teaching or administration.

The event not only promoted the English language teaching profession as a career but also provided a forum for discussion and support education stakeholders. During the conference, the foremost experts in the fields of curriculum design in English learning training and assessment shared theory, practice, and innovation trends for teaching and learning in the digital world.

The conference included all of the usual features for which TESOL Arabia is known for such as the Job fair where employers interact face-to-face with peer teachers looking for new opportunities, and meet all related contacts in the field of education all in one place, exhibition, discussion forums and the showcase strand.

Constructive feedback and positive vibes were sensed from participants of the TESOL Conference. As captured on the TESOL Arabia Facebook Page; some of the participants namely Barry Dnn, Raquel Coelho, Norhan Ahmed and Rahsid Ocheltree, all were very excited and happy to be involved in the event citing that the conference was excellent networking event where newer ideas and perspectives were shared as discussion on creative ideas for promoting teaching methodologies were exchanged.

Moreover, the event indicated that UAE and Dubai in specific had a high market with potential to grow further in the coming years as market analysis has shown that UAE has managed to build a strong and solid perception as an educational hub where important niche sub-sectors are emerging to cater for the high quality standards set for Dubai and its knowledge based economy.

Hence, education regulators are anticipating hundreds of thousands of new students to be enrolled in private schools by 2020. With the number of private school students in the GCC expected to triple in the next seven years, regulators from Abu Dhabi and Dubai have cited the need for new schools to accommodate the increase in student enrollment.

There are currently 200,000 students in 184 private schools, teaching 14 different curriculums across the UAE; by 2020 number of students in private schools is expected to reach 280,000, which means an annual growth of 5%. The private education sector in Abu Dhabi caters to more than 60% of the total student population in the Emirate – a quarter of whom are Emirati. The figures indicate that the sector is growing.

Nonetheless, private education has witnessed the most growth with students, so it can be safely assumed that there is investment opportunities in private education across UAE, with at least 12 schools in Abu Dhabi are forecasted to open next year. Dubai itself has experienced growth, with a 7% annual increase in student enrolments in private schools. If the trend continues, the number of students will jump to 360,000 by 2020, which will be a 60% increase from the existing student population numbers are according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority in Dubai. It is forecasted that UAE will need tentatively 110 new schools by 2020 and it is one of the highest growth segment within the education sector. The UAE’s private education market is about the same size as India’s and China’s combined.

To conclude, majority of growth needed in affordable private institutions that maintain quality and international standards in English teaching and learning in different curriculums. Outcomes on the opportunity of this sector are both scalable and promising. It will be deliberated at the upcoming Education Investment MENA Conference that will take place this coming November; where the annual meeting point of the private education community provides input on expansion, innovation and partnership opportunities for education in UAE.

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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