(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) As the closure of villa schools draws near, the race to lease land by investors and build their own schools has accelerated.
According to Tareq Al Ameri, manager of Promotion and Business Development at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), 29 investors have submitted bids for four available plots last month. These vacant lands are located in Al Falah, Baniyas, Khalifa B and Al Shahama areas.
Since the Adec has started allocating lands, 25 investors have taken advantage of the offer, including those who went through the land allocation committee, said Al Ameri. In 2009, eight schools were given plots by Adec.
"Availability of land varies as Adec works in collaboration with other government agencies and therefore supply is flexible and will be based on the outcome of the Private Schools Master Plan in which Adec will decide how many plots should be allocated in the future," Al Ameri told Khaleej Times.
The land allocation, at low-cost rent, is part of Adec's long term plan to encourage investors to build a high-quality purpose-built facility that offers good educational standard for the low-income community.
The lease costs only '10 fils per sqft for 30 years,' disclosed Al Ameri, noting that the land size varies between 16,000 and 27,000m2. "The previous lands that were approved through the land allocation committee have an average of 24,000 m2," he added.
The provision of land is also meant to address the current shortage of seats at private schools, eradicate schools operating from the residential premises, and provide a safe and better education environment for students and teaching staff. According to the Adec plan, all villa schools will be shut down by the 2013-2014 academic year.
And with approximately 185,000 students currently enrolled in the private schools and annually increasing, the provision for more schools or places at schools has become imperative.
"Developing education calls for improving the private school sector's potentials in Abu Dhabi by attracting and supporting investors to build new and quality schools through providing them with the appropriate purpose-built plots or vacant public school buildings," said Hamad Al Dhaheri, Adec's Executive Director of Private Schools and Quality Assurance.
At a workshop for investors hosted by the Abu Dhabi Education Council last month, participants were introduced to the RfP (request for pitching or proposal) process and procedures required to bid to lease a land.