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Education in Dubai

Education in Dubai and the whole of UAE has flourished since the establishment of the Federation, when only a petite minority of the urban population had access to formal education. The existing education system started in 1970 and since then, there has been real awareness about education in the whole of UAE. The curriculum, policies and system are being constantly updated. There has been a remarkable increase in both the government backed budgets and private and foreign investments in the field of education. The Ministry of Education has adopted several policies in order to achieve the highest goals in education, and take the country forward. The Ministry also encourages educational institutions to actively take part in society development.

There are many levels of primary, secondary, college and university education available in Dubai, catering to various age, language and cultural groups.

Breakdown of the education system

Primary and secondary education is provided for all UAE citizens. The existing educational structure, which was established in the early 1970s, is a four-tier system covering 14 years of education.


Age level from: 4 to: 5 years old


Length of program in years: 6
Age level from: 6 to: 12


Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 12 to: 15


Length of program in years: 3
Age level from: 15 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate

Technical Secondary School

Length of program in years: 6
Age level from: 12 to: 18
Certificate/diploma awarded: Technical Secondary Diploma

Primary school education is compulsory for all UAE citizens. Government policy is to provide staff/student ratios of 1:20 at kindergarten and primary levels; and 1:15 at intermediate and secondary levels. The existing staff/student ratios are well within this proposed range.

Primary and Secondary School Education

The school system in Dubai is similar to that of the United Arab Emirates. There are plenty of public and private schools in every locality. Arabic is the medium of instruction in public schools with emphasis on English as a second language. However, private schools employ English as the main medium of instruction. The Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates is the authority that gives school accreditation. Moreover, the Dubai Education Council was established in July 2005 for further development of the education sector in Dubai.

The UAE citizens are bound to take primary education. Education is compulsory upto the ninth grade. A four-tier process is followed for a period of fourteen years. Starting from the age of 4 in kindergarten, secondary education ends at the age of 17.

On other note, you are not allowed to change your child’s school in the middle of the academic year. In case of special circumstances, an approval for such a decision can be requested from the Ministry of Education. Another restriction prevents you from enrolling your child in any school in the middle of the year. Instead, you have to wait till the beginning of the new school year for the enrolment.

Higher Education

A wide range of national and public institutions have been founded in a very short period of time. The teachers employ internationally accredited methods of teaching, enabling students to achieve one of the highest application rates at foreign and international institutions. In Dubai and the whole of UAE, people can attend government institutions free of cost. The Dubai campus of the Zayed University was recently inaugurated by the ruler of Dubai offering degrees and courses in arts and sciences, business sciences, communication and media sciences, education, and information sciences. The Zayed University is now maintaining a cooperative relationship with many leading institutions of the world.

Technical Institutes and Education

The Ministry of Education is constantly whetting to bring its education system to international standards. It has a particular focus in introducing the new IT resources at all levels. As a result of this, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid IT Education Project was launched in the year 2000. Today the trainee students achieve 97% success in this field. Earlier in 1988, a system of UAE colleges offering more technical education was devised.

Private Institutions and Education

There are several private institutions and colleges in Dubai. The Dubai Knowledge Village, established in 2003, constituting more than 6,000 students, offers courses like postgraduate, MBA and Ph.D. programmes in fields such as computing, technology, business management, life science, fashion, and media. The learning cost is a bit high in this and other similar institutions in comparison to the government institutions.

International Universities and Education

Over the last ten years, a number of foreign universities have been set up campuses in Dubai. Universities like the American University in Dubai, British University of Dubai, Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences, Middlesex University of Dubai and many other universities have been added immensely to make Dubai a prosperous city in the field of education and research.

Initiatives and Programs

To meet the global standards in the areas of qualified faculty, updated curricula, and research facilities, Dubai seeks to raise its quality of education. It also aims at providing such an environment that enables the new generation to meet the work requirements of Dubai’s fast growing economy. The Dubai Education Council launched its Electronic Education Portal and suggestion scheme aiming at enhancing positive interaction as a new step towards progressive education in UAE.

Schools in Dubai

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