Investment Opportunities in Private Education Sector in GCC to Reach US$ ~5 Billion in 2012

By Ubm Middle East, PRNE
Monday, October 17, 2011

ABU DHABI, UAE, October 18, 2011 -

The Parthenon Group to present extensive regional education report exclusively at Building Future Education MENA 2011

The value of investment opportunities available in the private K-12 education sector in the GCC could potentially reach US$ 3.5 billion in 2012, according to an exclusive study done by The Parthenon Group, the leading strategic advisor to the global education industry.  

Meanwhile, the potential for investments in the higher education segment in 2012 is estimated to be worth US$ 1.2 billion. This and other results will be presented by The Parthenon Group at the Building Future Education (BFE) MENA exhibition and conference in partnership with Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) to be held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre on 25-26 October 2011.

Entitled ‘GCC Insight Report: Investment Opportunities in K-12 and Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; the report is based on an  in-depth survey of over 1,100 schools and universities. The report will arm potential investors with a data driven insight into the investment potential in the education sector, with a particular focus on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Speakers from The Parthenon Group will share their findings during the seminar session dubbed Funding theFuture, Private Investment andPhilanthropy which will give delegates an insight into the potential growth opportunities of both the K-12 and Higher Education segments in the region. It will be followed by a panel discussion with leading education figures and authorities from around the world.

Karan Khemka, Partner and Head of the Emerging Markets Practice, The Parthenon Group says: “Although the macro environment may suggest strong investment potential for education in the region as a whole, investors should choose their markets carefully; as the different education sectors have different drivers. We identified several segments of the market that see exponential growth, while other segments might already run at full capacity. There is a clear trend towards private education and a preference for international & mixed curriculum schools because students choose education in English at both secondary and tertiary levels. For example, the private higher education segment in Saudi Arabia — albeit still small in size — is growing at an annual rate above 35% compared to the public sector which is growing at only 10%. This shows that students and their families increasingly choose the private sector where a larger proportion of teaching is done in English.”

Another senior representative from Parthenon, Robert Lytle, Partner, Head of the Education Centre of Excellence, will lead a panel that addresses the impact of the national policy framework, and discusses the role of public-private partnerships and private equity funds in the investment landscape. Rob Lytle: “Parthenon is privileged to have an advisory role with many public and private sector clients throughout the region..  Our work with organizations such as the Abu Dhabi Education Council and the largest school operator in Saudi Arabia, only serves to enhance our commitment to helping address the challenges facing the education market in the GCC region today and tomorrow.”

Andrew Pert, Regional Director of UBM Middle East, organisers of the event, praised The Parthenon Group for its extensive research on investment opportunities in the education sector and its contribution as Knowledge Partners of BFE MENA 2011.  ”The knowledge and insights that can be gleaned from the study will help various stakeholders, from investors to government authorities, to take advantage of the opportunities to invest and help spur growth of the region’s education sector.”

Limited copies of The Parthenon Group research paper will be available at Building Future Education MENA throughout the event as well as at the presentation on day two (10.40AM), Investment Opportunities in K-12 and Higher Education by Karan Khemka, Partner and Head of the Emerging Markets Education Practice, Asia, The Parthenon Group.

The main conference will bring together those at the forefront of education from ministries, institutions, operators, architects and investors. The conference features in-depth panel discussions, based around specific research studies from BFE MENA’s Knowledge Partners Booz & Company, Parthenon and RAND Corporation, assessing the education market in the GCC and areas of potential investment.  

The conference will also cover key topics such as world-class facilities and learning environments, curriculum and school improvement, quality assurance, special education needs and sustainable education facilities.

Visitors can register now free at  Building Future Education MENA will also have strong representation from the MENA region’s education ministries and councils including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Jordon and Lebanon.

About The Parthenon Group

The Parthenon Group is a leading advisory firm focused on strategy consulting, with offices in Boston, London, Mumbai and San Francisco.  Since its inception in 1991, the firm has embraced a unique approach to strategic advisory services built on long-term client relationships, a willingness to share risk, an entrepreneurial spirit and customised insights.

Parthenon is the only strategic advisory firm in the world to have a dedicated education practice.  The Education Centre of Excellence is a leading advisor to the global education industry, with clients across diverse sectors that include publishing, primary and secondary education, higher education, consumer education, vocational education and corporate training.  Since 2001, Parthenon has completed more than 150 education projects a year with private and public sector organisations - including universities, foundations, school systems and for-profit companies - in over 60 countries worldwide.

More information about recent studies conducted by The Parthenon Group can be found at:

About Building Future Education MENA

Building Future Education (BFE) MENA in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) is a free-to-attend international exhibition and conference covering educational spaces, management, reform, investment and operation of all educational institutions and programmes in the MENA region; and covers all tiers of education.

BFE MENA attracts strong representation from the MENA region’s education ministries and councils including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Jordon and Lebanon, is organised by UBM Middle East.

Media, for all enquires including the knowledge partner reports please contact: Anthon Garcia, press at or +971-50-139-8661; For other marketing related enquiries: Bryan Espie, Marketing Director, UBM Middle East, bryan.espie at or +971-2-406-4471.

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