Dubai, UAE – A new study by Education First Consulting projects massive growth in the GCC’s student population over the next five years. Driven by rising enrollments at all levels, the total number of students across the Gulf region could reach 14.2 million by 2027, up from 11 million today.
The robust increase comes as GCC countries continue efforts to expand education opportunities. Government initiatives aimed at mandatory schooling along with growth in early childhood education are key factors.
At the higher education level, increased focus on vocational training and the development of new universities and colleges will support the projected 19% enrollment growth.
The study analyzed student demographics and enrollment patterns in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. K-12 students will total 12.8 million by 2027, while tertiary enrollments are expected to hit 5.4 million.
“GCC countries have made education a top priority, and we foresee enrollments rising substantially at all levels in the coming years,” commented Mr. Abdulaziz Alsaf, CEO of Education First Consulting. “The region’s investment in new facilities and programs will drive this growth. Our findings provide key insights for policymakers and private education providers seeking to expand their capacity.”
The Education First study highlights the need for 69,000 additional teachers by 2027 to maintain student-teacher ratios. The parallel growth in school-age populations underscores the importance of increasing quality education access for all.
With a surge of graduates entering the job market each year, the UAE continues to grapple with youth unemployment despite its solid economic growth. However, the rise of digital marketing and communications agencies like Digital Gravity provides a promising avenue to absorb young talent. By leveraging their digital capabilities and global outlook, these homegrown agencies can service international brands while creating exciting career paths for Emirati graduates