Skip to main content

Private education facing hurdles in Qatar: report

Students immersed in studies in a Qatar school
Doha, (Qatar): Qatar’s tough regulations and high set-up costs are discouraging private firms from opening schools here, a new education report has found. This eye-opening data was revealed by investment bank Alpen Capital’s latest GCC Education Industry Report.

Another gap points out by the report is that there is a dearth of capacity to meet demand for quality education in Qatar.

As the influx of expats will trigger population rise rapidly as part of the several mega-infrastructure projects ahead of the 2022 World Cup and eventually the competition will be fierce for highly coveted school places. The report forecasts that the number of pupils enrolling in private schools in Qatar will rise by between 30 to 40 percent in the next five years.

This rise in demand for places is partly due to the increasing expat population, but also comes as the average Qatari family decides to spend more on children’s education, and utilizes the expanding voucher program to place their kids in private school. The development and expansion of Qatar’s education system is one of the cornerstones of the National Vision 2030. Qatar has been working to increase the number of schools in the country, but the pace has been slow.
Challenges

The report cites a number of issues facing private operators who would like to open schools in the Gulf region, including a shortage of skilled teachers and government control on fee hikes combined with the fact that it is a capital intensive industry.

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and the SEC have tried to encourage international investors with planned schemes such as 15-year education loan with subsidized interest rates of 3 to 4 percent to those looking to set up schools, the report said. However, it noted that investors into Qatar’s education market are cautious, and in 2012, there were no venture capital investments in the sector.

This is partly because of the high cost of setting up a business in the country,the report stated. While Qatar is encouraging more of its younger population to become entrepreneurs, it added that ”a tough regulatory environment is posing challenges in the industry.”

As a non-Qatari, setting up a business in the state can be a long and complicated process. While the government did announce some imminent changes to the commercial register, which may make it easier for entrepreneurs in the country, a number of hurdles are likely to remain.

Other key challenges facing Qatar, and the wider GCC education market, include:

· Shortage of skilled staff: Rising inflation across the region makes it more expensive to hire qualified staff to teach in the schools. Also, with a high turnover of teachers in the region – the average tenure is three years – staff need to be constantly replaced.

· Fee caps: Many Gulf governments have put a cap on the fees private schools can charge, which limits their ability to get new staff and improve facilities. Qatar’s SEC has tried to address this issue by recently introducing a new system of assessment of schools applications to increase fees.

· High set-up costs: Rising real estate prices, salaries and visa expenses mean that initial set-up costs for an international school are high. The report estimates that funds of between $50 to $100 million are needed to set up an international school in the region.

Expanding market

In March, the government announced that it is currently working to open 85 new schools in the coming 18 months. Whether the private schools that will be built are enough to accommodate the growing population remains to be seen. According to Alpen’s report, Qatar’s private school market was worth $433 million, based on annual tuition fees.

And half of all enrollment rates in Qatar in 2012 were in private schools – one of the highest rates in the region. And overall, Qatar is predicted to have the highest increase regionally in terms of the total number of student enrollments by 2020.

Still, compared to the UAE, Qatar has far fewer international schools. While Qatar is estimated to have 130 international schools to serve its population of 2.2 million (and growing), Dubai alone has 233 international schools for its population of 2.3 million.

Trends


The report also highlights a number of emerging trends in education in the region.

In Qatar, as in the rest of the GCC, it appears that British curriculum schools are particularly sought after. While half of Qatar’s private schools offer the Qatari curriculum, nearly one third (31 percent) run on UK-supplied curricula. This trend is likely to continue, the report stated.

Meanwhile, investment in special needs education was flagged as a particular area of demand. Teacher training programs and specialists in curriculum design are also highly sough after.

Additionally, governments in the region are now requesting the establishment of new “smart schools” that are equipped with the latest technology. Meanwhile, at a university level, there is a renewed focus on upgrading research and innovation abilities.

Other growth areas are vocational training, finishing schools, child-skill enhancement, and e-learning.


Related stories- Alpen Capital reports:

Popular posts from this blog

Wanna be a forensic Scientist? What Dubai offers?

Dubai: It used to be that you could only be a Crime Scene Investigator on television, now at Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) you can study a Digital Forensic Science Degree and join an elite team of crime solving scientists upon graduation. 
Forensic Scientists use scientific methods and problem-solving techniques to solve crimes. Using advanced procedures and high-tech equipment, Forensic Scientists collect evidence in order to solve intricate puzzles and assist Police and Government departments. 
Two universities in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) which offers forensic programmes are American University in the Emirates  and Manipal University Dubai.
Manipal University Dubai offers post-graduate degree only. You can join for MSc in Human Genetics and Forensic Science. This post graduate programme is interdisciplinary, linking together courses in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, criminal justice, psychology and legal studies. Individual attention is given so t…

Why You Should Not Opt For IIT Bombay

This article is written by IITians in theblog








If asked to compare IIT Bombay to IIT Delhi, most students say that the difference is negligible. Both are in metropolitan cities with good options for hostels, PG accommodations, food and entertainment. Cultural activities are equally good as is the faculty and study methodology. Even placements at the two IITS are amongst the best in the country. Yet figures indicate that the top JEE rank holders prefer Computer Science Engineering at IIT Mumbai rather than IIT Delhi. But, we are here to tell you when and why you can avoid IIT Mumbai.

Mumbai IIT was earlier placed in the suburbs, away from the crowds, giving IITians the space and peace to pursue their career goals. Today the area in Powai is surrounded by high rise building, malls and traffic snarls, bringing with it all the clatter and patter of a metropolitan hub. Just like the population and popularity of Powai and its neighbouring areas has grown, so has the quality of education at thi…

Second Pakistani University opens in UAE

RAS AL KHAIMAH, (UAE): One more Pakistani University has started its operations in Ras Al Khaimah with a mission to provide good quality affordable education for Pakistani families living in UAE. Name as “Abasyn University”, the new educational platform will offer degree courses to the 800 to 1,000 pupils who comes out of Pakistani high schools in the UAE every year.

Previously Szabist University in Dubai was the only Pakistani university in the emirates. Abasyn’s Ras Al Khaimah centre is its overseas branch campus. As a famed brand in Pakistan, the Abasyn University has campuses in Peshawar and Islamabad. Abasyn University is considered to be more affordable as it charges only Dh1,200 a month. This makes it more affordable than Szabist which charges Dh1,900, and Abasyn is significantly cheaper than other institutions.

On average, university fees in the UAE start at about Dh25,000 a year. However, for anything science or engineering based, costs can rise to more than Dh45,000.The…