Saudi Arabia to lead GCC’s education sector with $50bln allocation in 2023 budget

Saudi Arabia is expected to lead the GCC as the largest education market between 2022 and 2027, with an estimated $50 billion allocated for the sector in 2023, UAE-based Alpen Capital said in a new report.

However, Kuwait and the UAE are projected to grow at a faster rate than other member nations in student numbers, the investment banking advisory firm said in a new report on the GCC education industry.

Overall, education spending across the GCC increased in 2023, averaging 13.3%, compared to 13.1% in 2020. 

The majority of the GCC countries have earmarked a significant proportion of spending for education, with Saudi Arabia allocating the highest expenditure at 17% of its total budget, or $50.4 billion, in 2023, followed by Oman at 16.7% ($1.9 billion).

Budget allocation for education in the UAE increased to 15.5% in 2023 from 14.8% in 2020. Kuwait maintained spending of 11.5% towards the sector.

These allocations in Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE, and Kuwait were higher than those in the US, the UK, and Germany.

However, government spending on education in Bahrain (9.9%) and Qatar (9%) remained below the regional average and lower than some developed nations due to volatility in oil prices over the past two years, impacting their fiscal positions.

A push for private sector investments has Saudi Arabia target an increase in enrolment from its current 15% to 25% by 2030, with the country looking to add 900,000 seats in the coming years, according to Dr Mounira Alaboudi, Education Segment Director, Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia.




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