Is Saudi Arabia facing an education crisis?
New research suggests that the Saudi Arabia is facing a deficit in school places.
PwC Middle East’s Education practice has launched the Saudi Arabia findings of its GCC Education Sector: a country by country overview. The report offers insight into a large and fluid market in which the national transformation of the approach to delivering education may prove to be a source of great potential for investors, providers and students, PwC said.
Key findings include:
- Based on current growth rates, Saudi Arabia is predicted to need over a million new school places by 2020 in grades 1-12, of which 150,000 are expected to come from the private sector. The number of private schools in the Kingdom has only been growing at three percent per annum, with the strongest growth being seen at the primary level, where enrollment in public schools has declined.
- Despite further growth expected in the private sector, market share for private schools is unlikely to grow from around 11 percent to the aspirational 25 percent unless significant changes are seen to encourage growth and investment.
Sally Jeffery, PwC Partner, Middle East Education & Skills Practice Leader and Global Education Sector Leader, said: “By 2020, Saudi Arabia is predicted to need over a million new school places for grades 1-12 and 125,000 seats in post-secondary. With an already high university enrolment rate, predominantly at public institutions, the Kingdom is facing budgetary pressure and a shortage of good alternatives to public universities. In the coming years, it will be crucial for the government to help deliver more private sector education provision.”
Opportunity for Public Private Partnership
The report also indicates that tightening restrictions on international visa and scholarship qualifications may cause a proportion of the estimated 190,000 Saudi students that study abroad each year (12 percent of all university enrolled students in 2014) to look for university places at home. Finding places will be harder however; added pressure on funding public provision in the Kingdom may mean additional demand for private institutions, which will consequently need to enhance their capacity and offerings.
Saudi Arabia faces tough policy choices in Higher Education. If historical rates of enrollment continue, and the university age population continues to grow, around 125,000 additional seats will be required in post-secondary education by 2020. Questions arise around how to encourage the private sector to increase capacity, and what alternatives can be offered (such as vocational and technical training) which are attractive to young people leaving school and seeking success in a knowledge-based economy. In the coming years, it will be crucial for the government to further enable the private sector to ensure adequate provision.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.