RIYADH: Saudi Arabia ranks as the largest market for education services in the region, and it also accounts for a growing number of students enrolled in the K-12 (kindergarten to grade 12) education system in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Strong government support over the past few years has led to the continuous expansion of the education sector by inviting private players to enter the space.
This was revealed in a study conducted by Research and Markets, the world’s largest market research organization, which has been working in the field for 15 years.
Referring to the higher education sector, the study said: “The higher education industry of the Kingdom inclined at a single digit CAGR (compound annual growth rate) during the period 2012-2017. The establishment of new universities due to the increased investments in the education sector was the key contributor to the augmented revenues generated by the market players,” it added.
The study, titled “Saudi Arabia Education Industry Outlook to 2022,” provided a comprehensive analysis of the education sector, focusing on segments such as the K-12 education sector, higher education, vocational and technical training, e-learning and the test prep sector. The future analysis of the Saudi Arabia education industry as a whole was also discussed and recommendations offered.
Referring to the growing education sector, the study said that the Kingdom’s private K-12 education market, valued at $5 billion in 2017 today, would grow to $12 billion by 2023. It pointed to the Saudi Ministry of Education’s ambitious strategy to raise the quality of education, transform youth mindsets, and strengthen the economy within the framework of Saudi Vision 2030.
It is important to mention that Saudi students are now allowed to enroll in private international schools and the country is allowing foreign ownership of companies in the education sector.
The Saudi government has set ambitious targets through Vision 2030 to increase the share of private school students from 12 percent today to 25 percent in 2020.
To meet this increase, the government has turned to the private sector to finance the construction and operation of the first batch of 1,600 schools.
The study further said: “Since the bachelor’s degree is the first step to higher education, this segment has witnessed the greatest number of enrollments in the 2017 academic session.” Universities offering post-graduate degrees witnessed the least number of enrollments during 2017, constituting less than 50 percent of the overall students continuing higher education in Saudi Arabia, it added.