But investors from the Emirates are counting on opening the Gems World Academy next year to hundreds of students on the premises in Etoy, a community west of Lausanne in the canton of Vaud.
Offering instruction primarily in English, the 14,000-square-metre private school is aimed at the offspring of employees of multinational firms in the Lake Geneva region.
Boasting “world class educational and sporting facilities,” the school is to be operated by Gems Education, which claims to be the largest operator of private schools in the world.
Based in Dubai, the private company runs schools in the UK, the United Arab Emirates, Africa, China, India and the US.
The Etoy school will be the company’s first in Switzerland and continental Europe.
“The project, including the building, is worth 162 million Swiss francs ($172 million),” Rob Curtis, Gems Education marketing manager for Europe, informed The Local.
“Construction started in 2011 and completion is planned for summer 2013, ready for the September 2013 academic year.”
Initially, the school plans to welcome around 400 students aged three to 14 starting in September.
Enrolment is targeted to expand to 1,000 with the planned introduction at a later date of an International Baccalaureate programme geared to students aged 15 to 18.
“Our curriculum stresses the importance of both a local and a global perspective,” Audrey Peverelli, the founding principal of the school said in a statement.
“In today’s world, we need to look to the future and prepare our students for life, empowering them to become independent, responsible, self-confident and resilient.”
Gems said facilities at the school include such features as a radio station, television studio, music technology lab, wireless multi-device access, a “world language learning centre” and a high-tech library.
A multi-use sports centre is scheduled for completion in 2014.
With geothermal heating and other environmental features, the main school building is just 200 metres from the Etoy train station.
More information: Gems World Academy