GCC spends yearly $150 billion on education

GCC spends $150bn a year on education but challenges persist. GCC Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry says delivery of quality education still a challenge despite huge funds allotted to sector.

Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are spending nearly $150 billion a year on education, according to figures released by the GCC Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The authority said in a statement that the region’s student population is projected to reach 11.3 million by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate of 1.8 percent.

“There is a need for in-depth study of the challenges facing the delivery of quality education despite the huge funds spent throughout the past decades,” said Abdul Rahman Al Naqi, the federation’s secretary-general. “Saudi Arabia accounts for 75 percent of the total student population in the GCC due to large population,” he noted.

His comments, cited by news agency WAM, came ahead of the sixth Gulf Education Conference and Exhibition, to be held in Jeddah on February 22-23. The 2017 edition of the Gulf Education Conference and Exhibition will focus on driving innovation in education through international and regional input. The conference also seeks to help foreign public and private sector educational institutions who are looking for greater engagement in the Gulf region. Last year, the International and Private Schools Education Forum (IPSEF) warned that more than 50,000 new schools are required in the GCC by 2020 to cope with rising demand in the education sector.

It said that new schools are needed to address an anticipated surge in the Gulf student population. A large and increasing base of school and college going population is fostering the demand for education in the region. Furthermore, a diversified expatriate community is increasing the demand for international curricula, thus attracting several international schools and colleges to the region.