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IPSEF addresses the growing private education market in Middle East

Just this week two reports have been published that confirm the substantial market opportunities for private sector education across the Middle East.

In its report Sameena Ahmad, Managing Director of Alpen Capita, a GCC focused Investment Bank said "The growth of the GCC education sector is driven by factors such as population growth, increasing number of expatriates, the rising importance of high-quality education in the society, and a growing spending propensity. The sector is gaining additional momentum from governments across the GCC that are acknowledging the need for an education system capable of producing industry-ready graduates. Thus, with increased focus on improving the quality and reach of education in the region, the sector presents an interesting investment opportunity".
The report added that GCC Governments are acknowledging the importance of private participation in accomplishing their objectives for the education sector. The result has been an increasing number of private schools and colleges being set up in the region.
To underline this a second report this week from the Qatari Supreme Education Council announced plans to open 28 new private schools by the next academic year, which begins in September. The move apparently is to address the severe shortage of private schools in the country.The new schools will join the existing 132 schools and create an additional 10,000 seats for Qatari and expatriate students, the SEC said yesterday. Currently, a total of 1,281,80 seats are available at private schools that cater to different nationalities. Five new international schools have so far been licensed with a total capacity of 2,200 students in all academic levels.
However, the Alpen report says, setting up of a private school in the region is capital intensive, due to rising real estate prices, electricity expenses, licensing costs, salaries, and visa expenses. Additional education projects involve a long gestation period. Regulations such as cap on the fee structure also make it challenging for investors to evaluate the investment opportunity.
These are just the sort of issues that are addressed by IPSEF, which returns to Dubai in September for the second time, to complement its existing programme of events in London and Malaysia. The conference programme is designed to provide high level discussion on the business issues of international and private schools, and brings together the numerous stakeholders required to finance, license, project manage and deliver a new school operation. 
The themes help any school or school group understand, through detailed case studies, the risks and  rewards of setting up a new school, as well as covering the practical issues of doing your research, choosing a curriculum, appointing an architect, and the all important matter of appointing your Head and staff. By bringing together all these stakeholders IPSEF provides an unrivalled opportunity for investors and schools to hear from, meet and discuss these issues with their peers, in order to identify future business partners.
The last IPSEF event, held in Kuala Lumpur in March this year was chaired by the Master of Marlborough College Malaysia, Bob Pick, who opened the Malaysia branch of this famous UK school in Johor, southern Malaysia in August 2013. The IPSEF Middle East event in September will continue with this tradition of having a Chair who has had experience of opening a branch of an established school, and will be Jonathan Hughes-D'Aeth, Headmaster, Repton School Dubai.
Run in partnership with DIAC and to be held at the Knowledge Village auditorium on 22-23rd September the event will include speakers from the KHDA, so providing attendees from the investment and school sectors access to senior officials who are responsible for the licensing, and monitoring of private education in Dubai.
The following day, Thursday 25th provides delegates with an option to participate in school visits to some of the area’s newest and most interesting schools. IPSEF Co-Founder, Mark Roelofsen, said ‘the school visits are a very practical follow up opportunity form two days of high level discussion and debate on the subject delegates can actually visit schools to add real practical insights to what they have learned in the previous days’.