Pansophic Learning acquires BBD Education

Pansophic Learning, the large international education operator has acquired BBD Education in the Middle East, as part of its strategy for expanding in the region, through its new entity GSM Middle East (Global Schools Management). The Group educates over 35,000 students across its schools and nurseries in the US, UK, Switzerland and Uganda and the acquisition of BBD positions the group across the MENA region with an experienced and expert management team, already in-place. Within its Charter School network in the USA, it educates over 23,000 students across five different states. Within the UK, it owns the Auro Academies Trust, and educates over 2000 students. The Group also owns the high performing Swiss Private School, The International School of Berne (IS Berne) which was established in 1961 and it delivers the International Baccalaureate (“IB”) and has established itself as a leading school in Switzerland.

The Founder and CEO of Pansophic Learning, Ron Packard is a visionary, global educator and entrepreneur who was previously the long-time CEO and Founder of K12 Inc. He oversaw the growth of K12 from just an idea to almost one billion in revenue, making it one of the largest education companies in the world. Ron has received the Education Industry Association’s James P. Boyle Entrepreneurial Leadership Award, as well as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the IT Services & Solutions category in Greater Washington. Ron has been featured on nationwide radio and television shows and magazines, including Bloomberg TV, Forbes, and the Washington Post to name a few. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, both with honors. The Middle East is now a key priority for the Group’s growth, and the Group is targeting private sector expansion, and also government sector projects through the Public Private Partnerships in the region.

BBD Education is a management and consulting business, set up in 2012 by Professor Ralph Tabberer to pioneer professional educational services for the emerging schools’ markets in the GCC. It has won licenses for, and established, more international schools in the GCC region than any of its competitors. Expert staff cover all features of school operations: academics, financials, facilities management, school design, procurement, HR and recruitment, admissions and student services. Recently, BBD has worked with the leading schools in the region; opened new schools and expanded its client base in Singapore, Indonesia, China, Canada and north Africa; and taken the lead in generating innovative designs for ‘schools-for-the-future’. BBD has also worked extensively with governments across the region and most recently with the Ministry of Finance in Oman as part of their Public Private Partnership initiative.

The CEO and Founder of Pansophic Learning, Ron Packard commented on the acquisition “The Middle East is a growth region, and the acquisition of BBD sets us towards a pathway of growth. As an organisation, have delivered education on multiple continents, through multiple mediums, and it is our intention to continue this through the MENA region. We’re very excited about the future, and we know the team at BBD has the local skills and knowledge to deliver the growth that we want.”

Ralph Tabberer, owner or BBD Education commented “The tie-up with Pansophic is perfect for BBD. From day one, they will add insights, experience, investment funds and a cutting-edge online learning platform to our management and consulting business. This means that, together, we can offer even better services to the schools and operators who have worked with us for years and who have helped us to build a great education network throughout the GCC and beyond. I am more excited than at any point in my career about the opportunity to work with Ron Packard and his stellar team, so that we can ensure that education realises its full potential in transforming young people’s lives.”

Professor Ralph Tabberer was previously Director-General of Schools for the UK government and, between 2009 and 2012, he was COO and CEO with GEMS.

Shaun Robison, CEO of BBD Education in the Middle East said “The BBD team has keenly anticipated this move. This allows us to supercharge growth in several verticals across the region, and put in cutting-edge tools that will empower teachers and students, and ultimately, raise student achievement across the Middle East. Over the last three years, we have expanded into Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and the demand for our services has increased ten-fold due to the growth of international education. Where governments and school owners want transformative management and new solutions, we now have a full range of end-to-end solutions. We look forward to further announcements in the coming months”

The Middle East region has been quick to recover from the pandemic, with schools recognising they have added capabilities in digital learning due to the crisis. The region remains the fastest moving in the world in terms of the growth of international schools. Expansion is already back under way because of the welcoming and mature regulatory environment that has been built, first in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha and now, in Riyadh and Saudi Arabia’s leading cities.