Middle East education options grow, but still somewhat limited
Many transferees with families who need to move to the Middle East for corporate relocation now have a greater number of options when it comes to ensuring their children have a high-quality education.
Investors have put a significant amount of investment into Middle Eastern schools, and the quantity and types of schools have increased markedly, Relocate Magazine explained. However, transferees and their companies must plan early, as the best schools have long wait lists. In some situations, transferees have chosen to leave their children and spouse at home during their stay abroad if school options are not available.
Much of the region's educational growth in recent years has been driven by not only a larger presence of corporate relocation programs, but also due to the increase in industry in the area. The country with some of the best schooling options has been the United Arab Emirates.
"The UAE is now a place to be," Lesley-Ann Wallace, principal of the British International School Abu Dhabi, told the magazine. "There are more things for families to do, and, therefore, it's more appealing, and the choice of educational institutes has grown tremendously, so there are options where there weren't before."
However, despite the growing number of schools, it has not yet helped keep demand down. This has hurt some transferees when moving to the new area, as they have wanted their children to go to certain schools in their area, but cannot do it because of a lack of space.
"We see the full range of reactions from relocating families, from resigned acceptance, to desperate disappointment, to outright anger," Mark Hunter, vice principal of student services at Doha College, told the news source. "A lot of the reaction depends upon how well-informed parents were prior to their application."
While more schools are being constructed and the entire educational situation is improving for expatriates and their families, it is still important to note that quality of education may be just as important as availability of education, the magazine added.
Continually exploring various educational options for the children of transferees is necessary in the months leading up to a transfer. This will help prevent anyone from being unnecessarily disappointed or frustrated with the situation, and may help secure a spot in a high-quality school nearby.
Filed under: International Relocation Services