Record teacher recruitment across GCC schools

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Saudi Arabia, with new reforms to the country’s education sector, is expected to create new opportunities for international schools  

Dubai, Sept 14, 2023: K-12 teacher recruitment in the GCC region has seen a significant rise in 2023, mainly driven by rejuvenated migration into the Gulf countries leading to opening of new schools.  

The UAE is at the forefront of this educational wave with 769 international schools or a significant 37% of the total number of schools across the GCC. In Dubai alone 27 new private schools were established in the past four years. 

Poonam Bhojani, CEO, Innoventures Education

Poonam Bhojani, CEO, Innoventures Education says there has been a significant surge in student enrollment this year, with numbers spiking by an impressive 16% as compared to the same period last year. “The increase ranges from 20-40% across specific class groups. We have seen an increase in numbers as our schools are growing,” she says, adding that the teacher turnover however has diminished this year.   

GEMS Education says it welcomed a total of 2,445 new teachers from around the world to its network of 44 schools across the UAE and Qatar, in what it says was its largest ever intake of new teachers. “We have recruited 30% more teachers this year compared to last year,” says John Mayes, Chief People Officer, GEMS Education.  

Talat Goldie, HR Director, Taaleem

Taaleem, another large education provider in the region, says more than 800 academic staff joined its schools this year, an increase of 5% compared to the previous academic year.  

“The UAE is an increasingly attractive magnet for quality academic staff to live, work and raise a family in. More than ever, we are finding many staff reaching out to us for teaching positions in our schools,” says Talat Goldie, HR Director, Taaleem.

 

Lynne Elizabeth Crombie, Head of Talent Acquisition, Bloom Education

Lynne Elizabeth Crombie, Head of Talent Acquisition, Bloom Education says its ongoing growth within the network and four new schools resulted in the recruitment of 350 new teachers, an increase of about 17%.

 

 

 

Diane Jacoutot, Managing Director, Edvectus

Teacher salaries across the GCC has however not experienced any major momentum. “Salaries have increased by just about 5-10% in most upper and middle tier international schools,” says Diane Jacoutot, Managing Director, Edvectus, specialists in the recruitment of Western-trained K-12 teachers. 

According to her, schools that provide uncompetitive salaries or sub-standard packages have probably realised that they are not attracting the calibre of candidates they need due to the lack of Western teachers. “Many are starting to address it,” she adds.  

 

Roddy Hammond, CEO & Founder, World Teachers Recruitment Ltd

Roddy Hammond, CEO & Founder, World Teachers Recruitment Ltd however feels there has not been a significant increase in salaries. “Some government schools have been offering lower salaries and some have not changed in ten years.  There is a wide variation of salaries on offer, which can corelate to the level of school fees – simple economics,” says Hammond. 

As per recent statistics made available by ISC Research, the number of international schools worldwide increased from 8,771 schools in January 2013 to 13,564 schools in January 2023, with 2,068 institutions located in Middle East (excluding Egypt) alone.  

Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) recently announced that five new private schools in Dubai offering British and Indian curricula have added 12,000 seats.   

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has resulted in policy changes that encourage new schools and higher education institutes, leading to the entry of several large regional and global players.   

“We believe Saudi Arabia will be a huge growth market in the next ten years. Many international school groups looking to expand have moved away from China due to changes in policy and economics, and are looking to other markets. We believe that Saudi Arabia will be a new land of opportunity for Western international teachers, much as the UAE was 10 or 15 years ago,” Jacoutot adds.