Arab News – Mansour Al-Khunaizan, chairman of the National Committee for Private and International Education at the Council of Saudi Chambers, said that about 90 percent of international schools were facing financial ruin due to increases in their operational costs and the rise of building rents.
He urged these schools to reduce their overheads and stay in business.
Al-Khunaizan confirmed that for two years now, the international schools have continued to withdraw their educational operations in the country. “In addition, the number of investors in this sector is dropping as well, especially because a number of them are threatened with imprisonment while others face bankruptcy.
This has caused a decrease in the number of schools here,” he added.
Regarding some key causes behind the withdrawal of some investors, he said: “International education has become an unattractive environment for investment. This is actually not the reality of the situation, but most investors have no real knowledge of the facts on the ground. Some school owners went to banks to take out loans in order to create a better and more appealing school environment for investors, while also taking loans to simply pay their rents and operational expenses on a day to day basis.”
He noted that the level of cash capital for international education in the Kingdom is approximately SR5 billion, while revealing that one school in Jeddah is even worth as much as SR300 million, in addition to another 100 international schools in Jeddah worth SR50 million each. In the Riyadh region, the number of such international schools exceeds 200. “This is a big investment but one that is now threatened and is demanding support,” he said.
Al-Khunaizan stressed the need to improve partnerships between the government and private sector to try and maintain the interests of investors in education.
“The sector now faces some difficult prerequisites, such as obtaining the consent of neighbors when establishing a new school, while also ensuring that the building adjoins a commercial street and other requirements. It is better that schools be established within neighborhoods to ward off any dangers to students. This is applicable worldwide,” he said.


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