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According to 2016/2017 statistics, kindergarten students represent more than 18 percent of private school students.

Stand-alone kindergarten schools in Abu Dhabi are predicted to flourish, offering new investment opportunities for potential private school investors, announced the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s (ADEC) Private Schools and Quality Assurance (PSQA) sector.

During the investment workshop organized by Business Development Division, more than 60 attendees, including existing and potential investors, were offered detailed information on investment opportunities for private schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

There are currently 191 private schools serving around 245,000 students in the Emirate, out of which 24.6 percent are Emirati students and 74.4 percent expatriates, with over 14 different curriculums offered; out of which approximately 45,000 students are enrolled in kindergarten. According to 2016/2017 statistics, kindergarten students represent about 18 percent of private school students.

In PSQA’s aim to maintain a world-class private education P-12 system that provides affordable high quality education to all students while promoting the UAE National Identity, 65 new private schools were opened in the past six years, adding additional supply in private schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

During the workshop, investors were given full information on the investment opportunities available in the market, with an overview on the current situation for private schools in the Emirate, the private schools licensing process, followed by details on banking requirements to review school financing, which was particularly helpful to learn about in order to familiarize potential investors on the banking process in detail. The last panel discussion included success stories of two new private schools.

PSQA’s Business Development Division Manager, Dr. Tareq Al Amiri, explained that ADEC’s PSQA has been organizing an investment forum for the past three years in order to offer as much information as possible to all of ADEC’s stakeholders at once. “This year however, is different. For the first time, we are launching a tailor made investment workshop that is especially delivered and designed to offer transparent and detailed information to investors, while showcasing the different opportunities available in the market.”

Dr. Al Amiri added: “Our main aim is to keep investors updated on our framework, while guiding them on what is exactly required to start up a new school or refurbish an existing one, especially since we now encourage stand-alone kindergartens schools.”

Due to ADEC’s full support with investors and operators, more schools have been opening in the past few years, keeping up with student enrollments in private schools which is expected to grow at an average rate of five percent in the next few years.

“The education market in Abu Dhabi has witnessed sustainable growth in the past few years due to investors becoming more familiar with current and future market needs, which is exactly what we’d like to achieve and witness here in ADEC,” added Dr. Al Amiri.

Ms. Mariam Saqer, Executive Director at the Al Ain Educational Investment, seconded that statement in her panel presentation, which highlighted the success story of a the Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys. “It took as little as seven months to build a completely new school that now caters to 926 boys. Now in its second year, the school is growing stronger, thanks to the transparent Design Manual and Investment Guideline publications provided by ADEC, and their assistance in explaining possible risks, challenges and obstacles ahead of us in order to avoid them.”

Ms. Saqer who currently overseas the operations of The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys, an American curriculum school. “There’s a huge demand for kindergarten and/or foundation school students which is exactly why we decided to start catering to the younger years.”

Mr. Amol Vaidya, Director Operation at the Global Indian International School, was awarded a land through the RfP process to build a CBSE school for 1,200 students in April 2013. “The schools heavy IT system set up, sports facilities, and the whole energy efficient buildings, were ready and functional in record time. After receiving all the required approvals during the whole process, the project took 8 months with a dedicated workforce of 24 hours to complete, while confirming to stringent estidama standards.”

One of the attendees and a potential investor, Mr. Khaled Al Junaibi, was delighted to attend the investment workshop for various reasons. “As a potential investor I gained more knowledge about how to mitigate things with ADEC and enhance our partnership to help benefit more students. I particularly liked the idea of ADEC inviting speakers to represent the banking and finance operations of things, which helped offer transparent and clear information on what the exact process is for investors.”

Mr. Al Junaibi plans new American school, which he hopes will help cater to 1,300 students in Al Ain as a start.

Mr. Mohamed Al Zaabi, Investor and Businessman, explained that it is the perfect time for Emirati businessmen to invest in starting up schools. “I have lived in the Far East for more than 20 years, where I gained knowledge and experience in the education sector. Now I am back to my country, where I plan to bridge the experience I gained. I am delighted to hear that ADEC is facilitating things for us, and look forward to introduce our new education facilities.”

– ADEC Media