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Middle East leading the way for International School places

Countries in the Middle East enjoy the fiercest levels of demand for places at international schools, new research suggests, with families relocating to the region facing stiff competition for places.

According to research by the International School Consultancy Group (ISC), the international school sector continues to go from strength to strength, with ever greater number of expatriates being attracted to the region.

Compounding this growth is the rising prevalence of local families sending their children to English-speaking international schools, something which is making competition for places much more of an issue.

Relocate Magazine reports that the study also reveals there are over 1,200 international schools across the Middle East, with a combined one million students on their books. This one region of the world accounts for approximately a third (30 per cent) of all international school students around the world.

Within the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates accounts for the largest section of the international schools market, which is unsurprising given that the drive to attract top talent from the UK, US and Europe has resulted in many families taking up the expat lifestyle in the Dubai and other emirates.

Dubai is, in fact, the world's leading city for international schools, according to the research, which highlights the significant growth it has undergone in recent years. Currently, there are some 233 international schools here, with more opening all the time.

Since 2009 alone, the number of students enrolling at these schools in Dubai has grown by 40 per cent, and they are currently at 90 per cent capacity, making further growth in the sector likely. 

Zooming out to look at the international market as a whole, it is estimated that there are currently some 7,000 English-medium international schools currently in operation, teaching approximately 3.5 million students. The ISC estimates that this figure will exceed 6.3 million students within the next ten years.

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