UAE private schools for the first time recording increase in new students

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has released new figures which suggest that the numbers of students enrolling in its private schools for the January term have risen by almost a quarter.

The chief executive of Taaleem, Alan Williamson, who operates ten schools in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said the new student enrolment had risen quite considerably.

Many attributed the rise of new intake in private schools for the first time to the continuous increase in the number of families arriving in the country.

Some private schools have also said that the bulk of the new intake consists mainly of children from families arriving in the UAE.

Notably, in recent months, many private schools began to offer discounts in school tuition fees in a move to attract new students and retain existing ones.

However, despite more excellent choice for parents, several private schools in the UAE said demand for places remained stable, with reputation an important factor in decision-making.

UAE govt establishing new private schools

Experts have linked the surging number of students to UAE private schools to the creation of more schools which has increased the level of competitiveness as well as cheap education made available in the emirate.

In August, Dubai’s education regulator announced its intention of creating eight new private schools across the emirate by September 2020.

Officials from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority said this would add 13,000 new places for students in an already competitive sector.

Discounts for siblings attending the same school have been one tactic employed by schools, along with significant tuition fee reductions for early enrolment.

Stephen Sharples, director of education for Aldar Education, who also runs eight Aldar Academies in Abu Dhabi, also testified to the massive uptake in admissions across Aldar Academies of recently.

He noted enrolments for January had soared this year, with an eight-fold increase in new admissions for term two compared to a previous registration.

Sharples said:

The vast majority of students are joining us from overseas [or] outside of Abu Dhabi and demand has been very high, leading to the addition of extra classes in some academies to accommodate this.

UAE students ace Pisa

According to the results of the recent edition of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the UAE had advanced eight points in mathematics skills.

The Ministry of Education said as many as 647 schools and 19,277 students participated in the assessment, which covered all the curricula offered in the UAE.

The results showed that the students in both public and private schools achieved remarkable progress in mathematics skills, advancing eight points on the scale of assessment over the previous edition.

The country scored 435 in mathematics skills, 432 in reading and 434 in science.

Some 49 per cent of the schools made progress in reading skills and 47 per cent in science skills. The schools achieved an improvement of 62 per cent in mathematics.

Notably, the UAE was among 79 countries participating in the PISA with a sample of male and female students from all public schools and private schools with an overwhelming majority of Emirati students.