The Education System in UAE – School Structure and Admissions

Jun 20, 2016

Are you moving to the UAE with your family and looking for a school for your child? Here is some useful information on the education system in UAE and the school admission process.

UAE Education System

In the UAE, education is compulsory for all Emiratis children aged five and above, including expat residents. Primary and secondary education in state institutions is provided free for every UAE national up to the age of 18.

The UAE education system is a four-tier system.

  • Nursery Education – Nursery education in Dubai begins at a tender age with children of eighteen months to two years getting admitted to nursery schools. Basic English language speaking skills are developed in students of this age group.
  • Kindergarten Education – Children of four to five years are admitted to Kindergarten where they get taught various subjects like English, Arabic, Mathematics, Music, and Art. At this level ‘Religion’ is also part of the syllabus and students are taught their respective religion.
  • Primary Education – Students admitted to primary school are generally around six years. English is the main language of instruction in most primary schools. However, many other schools teach in Arabic and some in foreign languages such as Hindi, French as well Russian.
  • Secondary Education – After completing primary school, students move to secondary or high schools. There are two kinds of high schools in Dubai, the ordinary schools that focus on academic subjects and the technical schools which focus on imparting specific skills in students.

Although the Emirates have several excellent accredited universities and other tertiary education institutions like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) University and Zayed University, most expatriates prefer to send their children back to their native country or Western nations such as Australia and U.K for higher education.

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But the UAE Ministry of Education is taking great strides in overhauling the education system to cater specifically for the high percentage of expatriate families that calls the Emirates home. It has received international recognition for its efforts to move to smart learning strategies via the Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Program (MBRSLP)

Continuing the technology-in-education focus is the Vision 2021 National Agenda, through which the UAE seeks to develop an excellent education system by completely transforming the current education system and teaching methods. The National Agenda aims for all schools and tertiary institutions as well as students to be equipped with Smart systems as a basis for all teaching methods, projects and research.

The new UAE education model envisages internationally accredited bilingual teachers to cater to the growing UAE population and expatriates moving to the Emirates.

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Popular Schools in UAE

There are many international schools in UAE to meet the demand for education by the increasing number of expatriate communities. These schools offer different syllabi ranging from Indian CBSE, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education ICSE, A-level programs, to the British General Certificate of Secondary Education GCSE, as well as International Baccalaureate (IB). The most popular schools for expatriates in Dubai include:

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Indian Schools in Dubai

With a significant percentage of Indian expatriates residing in Dubai, there are several Indian schools as well in Dubai’s education sector. These are some of the most popular Indian schools with the Indian expatriate community in Dubai.

  • The Indian High School – The Indian High School was started in 1961 as the first school to incorporate Indian syllabus in its curriculum. It is affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and has been awarded outstanding ratings by Dubai’s Knowledge Human Development Authority (KHDA).
  • Delhi Private School – Also known as DPS, the Delhi Private School, is one of the best and the most sought-after Indian Schools in Dubai. DPS imparts CBSE based curriculum to the pupils.
  • GEMS Modern Academy – GEMS Modern Academy is another top Indian school in Dubai. The school was started in 1986. It is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School of Certificate Examinations.
  • GEMS Our Own English High School – Founded in 1968, the OOEHS is among the oldest educational providers in Dubai that still maintains its popularity among the Indian expatriates. The school is affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education.

Other Indian schools that continue to attract Indian expatriates due to the quality of their education are The Millennium School, Ambassador School, Rajagiri International School, Springdales and JSS International.

Documents for UAE School Admission

You need the following documents to register your child successfully at one of the Dubai schools or colleges.

  1. Application forms from the school.
  2. Copies of student and parent’s passports and Dubai visa pages.
  3. Passport photos of the student.
  4. Copies of student’s birth certificate.
  5. School records for the last two years.
  6. Health card or evidence of medical insurance.
  7. Immunization records and medical history.
  8. A transfer certificate or letter of recommendation from the student’s previous school.

Some schools may require your child to compete in an entrance exam and to go through an interview. (Please check with the individual schools in Dubai for exact details since requirements may differ between schools, age groups, and nationality).

The type of curriculum, style of teaching, and language are important deciding factors for expat parents when looking for a school. Once your child is admitted to a school in UAE, it may be a good idea to hire a private tutor, especially during the initial months, to help them adjust to the new schooling environment.

The search for the perfect online tutor or private tutor for your child is now easier than ever. Simply register with MyPrivateTutorand search for a tutor. Or you could post a tuition job and have prospects contact you, and that too for free.

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