Hello Going Expat people,

Today we talk about the school system in Dubai, or more in general, in the Emirates. As usual the article has been written by a friend of the blog, who has direct experience with the school system: Esra.

Yes, she is a familiar face now, in fact Esra wrote also the article about the top tips to move to Dubai

What about the school system in Dubai?

When we first wanted to enroll our child in a preschool it took us quite a while to understand the school system in Dubai. After doing research and reading about people’s experiences things started to clear a bit.

The system is different than the one I was used to in Sweden, it seemed harder to adjust too but at the same time more diverse. You literally can choose any school you want and any curriculum. Choices are many.

There are both public and private schools although around 90 % of education is provided by private schools.

The Educational authority in Dubai is called KHDA (Knowledge and Human Development Agency). They also provide yearly school ratings, and you can find much information on their website.
Most international schools have open admission early each year so you can apply and secure a spot because spaces can often be limited.

The quality of education in Dubai is high and there are many outstanding schools by ranking, but keep in mind that they often are very expensive, and you have to pay a huge amount of money.

School fees in Dubai

The fee to pay depends on each school and can range from around 12.000 AED (USD 3,400) to 64.000 AED (USD 17.400) per autumn. There are additional costs which includes admission, school uniforms and transportation.

Choosing a school for your child might not be easy going as you wish because there are different aspects to consider and sorting out between all the options can take some time.

It can be hard for expats to find affordable international schools.

Here are some tips before choosing a school

  • Do your research and check the KHDA ratings.
  • Be clear about the curriculum you want. There are many to consider ex (British, American, international).
  • Look after your budget.
  • Reach out to parent networks.
  • Choose a school that’s not very far from home because traffic can be a nightmare during the rush hours.
  • Book a tour and visit the school in person.

Different levels and Curricula

Education in UAE is compulsory from the age of six.

Many parents choose to enroll their children in preschool from the age of 2 to 5. There are a lot of options for early years education in terms of many nurseries.

In the curriculum based on the UK, the preschool level is called FS and in the American it is called KG. For example, the first level children can read from age 3 will be FS1 and the next is FS2.

This is a bit tricky because FS1 curriculum can be both for children aged 2 or 4 depending on when they start preschool. Most big schools offer preschool education, so children never need to change school and many parents choose that option instead of enrolling their children in separate nurseries.

Primary Education is from grade 1-5, ages 6 to 11.

Secondary level is from grade 9-12, ages 14 to 18. Both are compulsory and upon completing grade 12 student receive a high school diploma.

There is a wide variety of curricula taught in UAE schools were the British one is the most popular, followed by the Indian, American, International, and then there is the German and French.

One popular program among expats is the IB (international Baccalaureate) because it gives students an advantage if they want to continue their education overseas.

Schools in the UAE runs from Sunday to Thursday and the school year is divided into 3 terms. There are then 3 periods of vacation: the winter break, spring break and summer holiday.

We are new to the educational system in the UAE, and it has not been easy to adjust to a totally new system. It is bit tricky, and it will take some time to find the right school. After all, the many choices and flexibility in choosing can make the process easier as each family knows what suits them best.

Do you ahve experience or questions about the scholl system in Dubai?

Let me know in the comments

Thank you again Esra and talk to you all soon