As the GCC and MENA economies look to diversify, improve public sector efficiency and grow their private sector workforce, there is a need for a new mix of skills areas and levels.

There are challenges to achieving this though:

  • Young people entering the workforce in the MENA region are faced with one of the highest youth unemployment rates globally at around 30%, a rate that has been worsening since 2012, particularly for young women.
  • A recent PwC survey shows that 60% of CEOs believe the education systems in the Middle East are failing at providing students with the right skills for employment, and meanwhile GCC countries are not meeting their TIMMS or PISA aspirations.
  • Education providers are struggling to expand their teaching capacity and research activities due to challenges with funding, access to land, student demand, and the ability to attract and retain top research and teaching talent.
  • The primary and secondary education sector needs to reform outdated national curricula and find an affordable way to involve the private sector in capacity expansion and improving student outcomes.
  • Despite efforts to encourage more youth into STEM subjects, the range of courses on offer still reflects the market demand for traditional preferences such as business courses.

 But there is more than a glimmer of hope…

  • Private sector provision is rapidly increasing in both coverage and quality and governments in the region are seeing the introduction of successful public private partnerships to meet increasing demand
  • International partnerships are becoming more sophisticated to offer the best of global good practice in a localized environment
  • Governments are tirelessly focusing on initiatives to improve, diversify and stimulate education innovation and provision while the private sector is increasing its presence and maturity in the sector

PwC offers global, regional and local education expertise

PwC supports governments, education providers, regulators and investors across the region. We lead the professional services sector in the breadth of our education clients and the depth of the services we provide.  In the Middle East, we have a team of dedicated education specialists who offer deep strategic and operational expertise across the key sectors, from early learning through to secondary, vocational and higher education. The team is led by Sally Jeffery, PwC’s Global Education Leader, bringing together the full range of our network’s global expertise for our clients.

In response to the unique needs of our region and at the forefront of global trends, we have developed areas of deep expertise including:

  • Policy reform and strategy, quality improvement and fee regulation
  • Strategic planning and implementation for new education institutions and professional training academies
  • Market entry and expansion strategy for nurseries, schools, colleges and universities,
  • Education institution transformation, efficiency and digitization
  • Gender specific, early learning and special education needs
  • Curriculum design, education technology, programme accreditation, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • In-depth research on education sector issues such as labour market readiness and national curriculum reform

We have an unparalleled higher education network and audit over 200 universities globally, including eight of the world’s top ten according to the Times Higher Education ‘World University Rankings’ and Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s ‘Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)’. In the US, PwC audit seven of the eight Ivy League institutions.


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Contact us

Sally Jeffery

Sally Jeffery

Global Education & Skills Network Leader, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0)56 6820539

Roland Hancock

Roland Hancock

Chief Sustainability Officer; Advisory Partner, PwC Middle East

Tel: +971 (0)50 900 3094

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