ADEC ban on school admissions for failing schools
ADEC have imposed a ban on 24 private schools in Abu Dhabi which prevents them from enrolling new students. We understand that the ban has been put in place because the schools have consistently failed to meet ADEC minimum standards. This is the first ban of its kind, at this scale, in the UAE.
New UAE teacher licensing scheme to start in 2017, all teachers to be licenced by 2021
The UAE Ministry of Education has introduced a new licensing system which will apply to teachers across the UAE. Under the new requirements, teachers will need to pass an examination and will be required to hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience and qualification. A pilot is currently being run for six months to phase in the scheme, and will include 750 teachers. All teachers are set to be licensed under the scheme by 2021.
New code of conduct for UAE teachers
A new code of conduct and ethics for teachers in the UAE is in development following the leak of video footage onto the internet of teachers attacking pupils. The new code will define the obligations of teachers and will introduce a duty to show honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, objectivity and diligence. In a bid to curb the issue, hotlines have been set up by the Ministry of Education for students to report threats to their psychological or physical wellbeing or to their academic progress.
UAE child protection law
Federal Law No. 3 of 2016, otherwise known as Wadeema's Law came into force this month. The law sets out obligations on the Federal and Emirate level authorities as well as parents and custodians and sets out basic rights that must be offered to each child. The law envisages a child protection agency, which will be governed by rules yet to be published. It is not yet clear what impact this will have on schools and nurseries and the reporting obligations that may be imposed on teaching staff.
Competition in Dubai schools increases as fees are cut to attract more pupils
A combination of low oil prices and an increase in the number of private schools in Dubai (with an estimated 20 more schools by September 2016) is having a significant impact on schools admissions and competition to attract pupils. We understand that a number of private schools have cut their school fees to attract students and some schools have introduced financial endowments and rebates.
ADEC begins randomised checks on Arabic lessons in schools
Abu Dhabi private schools are being inspected randomly to ensure that Arabic lessons are being taught in accordance with UAE culture. The periodic inspections aim to ensure that Arabic is being taught effectively in schools. Arabic lessons are currently mandatory up to Year 10, whilst Muslim pupils must take Islamic Studies until Year 12, and all students in years 1-9 must learn UAE social studies in a bid to preserve the country's heritage.
ADEC restrictions on schools trips
As of February 2016, ADEC has introduced a new rule banning pupils under the age of 12 from travelling outside of the city limits. ADEC have stated that the ban was created to ensure the safety and security of private school students under the age of 12. The rule also applies to students aged 12-18, from March 2016; all private schools planning to take pupils outside the city must submit applications through the ADEC website which must be applied 2 months in advance. No such restriction applies to students in Abu Dhabi public schools.
Expat teachers banned from teaching certain topics in Saudi Arabia as job criteria toughens
The Ministry of Education of Saudi Arabia has introduced a new regulation that prohibits expat teachers from teaching Arabic, Islamic Studies or Social Sciences in both public and private schools. The regulation also introduces new criteria for the recruitment of foreign teachers. Non-Saudi teachers are required to have taught continuously for at least two years, be specifically qualified in the subject they teach, pass an extensive interview, have at least a Bachelor's degree in Education and must not have taught in the country for the last three years. The applicant must also have a valid residency permit, pass an exam by the National Centre for Assessment in Higher Education (Qiyas) and also be able to produce a copy of their resignation letter from their former employment. It is believed that the new rules have been inspired by Kuwait's attempts to cut the number of expatriate teachers by 25 percent.
Brexit - what now?
With the UK public voting for Brexit over the weekend, and the UK now in a period of uncertainty, international opportunities and emerging markets will be even more important for UK based institutions, operators and investors. Now should be a time to consider where growth will come from and what priority markets will provide a greater opportunity than others. As an active advisor in emerging markets we are happy to provide industry insight.
New Alpen Capital Study and GCC Education Industry Report identifies the UAE education sector as `one of the fastest growing in the region'
Two education sector reports have been published recently focusing on the region. An Alpen Capital report has highlighted the UAE as having the fastest growing education sector in the region, a fantastic investment climate and a major education destination for foreign students in higher education. An International Schools Consultancy report confirmed that the UAE continues to be the world leader in student enrolment in K-12 International schools.
UAE Companies Law deadline extended
The new UAE Companies Law (CCL) that came into force on 1 July 2015 gave an initial 12 month period for all UAE companies to update their constitutional documents to reflect the amendments brought around by the CCL. This initial 12 month period has since been extended by the UAE Ministry of Economy giving all UAE companies an additional 1 year period up to 30 June 2017 to implement the changes. Many education institutions in the UAE are structured as limited liability companies and we therefore strongly recommend that any such institutions and operating companies do not delay amending their articles..
2018 VAT to exclude education sector
The new VAT (value added tax) law set to be introduced in 2018 across the GCC is likely to exempt Education. However, we understand that it has yet to be decided whether school accessories--such as uniforms and books--will be taxed.