Qatar has allocated $7.2bn to education, which is up 7.3% over the previous year; while the Gulf region as a whole is expected to spend more than $90bn on education-related construction projects by the end of 2014, according to a report.
This high spending makes the education sector one of the biggest for contractors and suppliers with the population in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) forecast to increase from 50.6mn in 2014 to 55.8mn by 2018, said a report by Ventures Middle East.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest investor in education with an expected spending of $56bn. It will construct 465 new schools and refurbish 1,500, alongside 1,544 existing school construction projects. It is also building eight new colleges and new vocational and technical facilities.
In the UAE, $2.6bn (21% of its 2014 budget) is being spent on schools and all new buildings meet the country's green construction Estidama rating.
Oman is initiating a process to provide free basic education to all its nationals spending $6.8bn, which is 18.6% of the total public expenditure. Kuwait will spend $10.5bn or 14.2% of its annual budget for the year (2013-2014) and Bahrain has allocated $2.2bn to continue to improve the education process for the fiscal years 2013-2014.
Governments of each GCC nation are investing significantly in construction of new schools and refurbishment of existing schools which is expected to drive the construction opportunities in the education sector in the region," the report said, adding the total number of students in the GCC region is slated to grow from 11.1mn in 2014 to 11.6mn by 2016.
Finding that GDP (gross domestic product) per capita income in the GCC is estimated to grow from $45,184 in 2011 to $51,286 in 2016, benefiting education; the report said "the increase in income will have a positive effect on the willingness to spend on education, especially for private sector education.