Most international schools are in the UAE

Demand in the Middle East has never been higher!

According to ISC Research (the leading provider of data on the international schools market), the United Arab Emirates is the top country in the world for English-medium K-12 international schools.  In terms of the number of international schools, the UAE is currently competing in a very tight race with China, but in terms of student enrolment, the UAE leads the world decisively.

How many international schools are in the UAE?

ISC Research says there are 548 English-medium international schools in the UAE; just three ahead of China. The two emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi dominate the market with 260 schools in Dubai and 191 in Abu Dhabi. More schools are under construction with 14 due to open during 2016 including GEMS International School in Mudon, Canadian International School in Dubai, and Sunmarke School in Jumeirah Village. Several more schools are in various phases of development. 

How many students are taught at international schools in the UAE?

The total number of students aged between 3 and 18 attending English-medium international schools in the UAE is 545,074. This is the highest enrolment of any country in the world by a significant margin (Saudi Arabia follows with 260,989). 36% of all international schools in the UAE have over 1,000 students.

There are several reasons why student enrolment is so high at international schools in the UAE. Major factors include the wealth of the country, an extensive expatriate population, demand for high quality, English-medium education by both expatriates and wealthy locals, plus the fact that the governments of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have not quotas or restrictions on the number of local children who can enrol at international schools. 

What does the future look like for teaching jobs in the UAE?

ISC Research says that further growth in the UAE is inevitable, spurred by increasing demand from both the expatriate community and from local families.

It says that Dubai’s population is projected to grow by 13% within the next two years, and there will be further expansion in Abu Dhabi. As a result, demand for international school places in these two emirates will continue to increase substantially. ISC also suggests that the Northern Emirates, which currently have 29 international schools, represent a potential growth market for the UAE where new developments have been emerging over the past two years. This means many more teachers will be needed throughout the emirates.

One cause for concern in the UAE, according to ISC Research, is access to enough qualified teachers with skills and experience from the United Kingdom. 47% of the international schools in the UAE follow a British curriculum and 73% offer IGCSE, GCE AS and/or GCE A levels. More teachers are needed!

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