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Schools in Dubai

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From the primitive past to the modern present, the exclusive change and improvement in the field of economic and financial development has bound Dubai to progress in the field of education. Dubai is undoubtedly fast developing its education system, working towards coming in line with the fastest growing international cities. The continuous development in the education system has strengthened the country’s future. The optimistic view of the citizens of Dubai has helped Dubai to achieve its goal.

History of Dubai Educational System

The educational system in Dubai is a four-tier system covering fourteen years of education, from the primary to the secondary. It is highly notable that the primary and the secondary education are offered free for every citizen of UAE. The Ministry of Education of the UAE government works closely on the educational policies, syllabus and studies performed in every institution at all levels.

Nurseries in Dubai

Nursery education in Dubai starts at a very small age. Children of eighteen months to two years are admitted to these schools. The teachers adopt various Montessori methods of instruction, however, basic English language speaking skills are developed in students of this age group. Students are also prepared for admission in kindergarten.


Children of 4 to 5 years are admitted to Kindergarten. Special care is taken while teaching English, Arabic, Mathematics, Music and Art. The notable thing in this education system is that ‘Religion’ is also a part of the syllabus. The students are taught their respective religion in order to have a broad view in every sphere of life.


After completing kindergarten, students are admitted to primary school. These students are generally of six years or around. The primary education lasts six years. English is the primary language of instruction in most of the primary schools in Dubai. But many other schools of Dubai teach in Arabic and also in some foreign languages such as French, Hindi and even Russian. A wide range of foreign curriculum such as the British or the Japanese is also seen. Some schools take entrance tests during admission. The British schools start their sessions in the month of September while the other schools start theirs in April. A variety of uniforms is observed for various schools. The school timings are from 8 in the morning till 2 pm. There are two or three breaks in between.

Some private primary schools conduct entrance tests. Most of the private schools in Dubai cater to expatriate communities. Delhi Private School, Our Own English High School, the Dubai Modern High School, and the The Indian High School offer Indian syllabus. Jumeirah Primary School, Jebel Ali Primary School, King's School and the Horizon School offer British primary education up to the age of eleven. Dubai English Speaking School and Jumeirah English Speaking School are the first choice for many expatriates.


Students, after completing their primary education are generally admitted to the secondary or high schools for further education. A number of international schools are also a part of Dubai. They follow syllabi ranging from the Indian CBSE to the British Cambridge system. The students have to spend three years in secondary school.

For GCSE and A-Level programs (British Schooling), Dubai British School, Dubai College, Dubai Gem Private School, English College Dubai, Jumeirah College, and St. Mary's Catholic High School are the best choices.

For GCSE, IGCSE and IB, The Emirates International School, Wellington School and Cambridge International High School offer a combination of GCSE, IGCSE, and IB courses to the expatriate community.

For CBSE (Indian Curriculum), Cambridge International and St. Mary's are popular choices for the Indian expatriate community.

Moreover, The International School of Choueifat and Emirates International School offer both British and American curricula.

A growing number of K-12 schools, like The American School of Dubai (ASD), which is located in Jumeirah and Dubai American Academy (DAA) in Al Barsha offer the American syllabus. ASD offers an accredited American high school diploma; DAA offers both an American-accredited high school diploma and the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. There are also some primary and high schools that offer Canadian and Japanese syllabi.


Most of the expatriates send their children to either back to their home country or to western countries for university education. Dubai nationals can attend government tertiary-level institutions free of charge. On other note, a number of foreign and local accredited universities have been set up in Dubai in the past decade. These include the following:

  • American University in Dubai (AUD)
  • The American College of Dubai
  • SP Jain Center Of Management (part of India's reputed Business School SP Jain Institute of Management & Research)
  • XLRI Dubai Campus for Management (in collaboration with Al Abbas Institute of Technology)
  • Al Ghurair University
  • Birla Institute of Technology and Science
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Middlesex University, Dubai
  • SAE Insitute
  • Dubai the Higher Colleges of Technology (Dubai Women's College and Dubai Men's College campuses) and the Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training (CERT)
  • University of Wollongong in Dubai
  • Dubai School of Government
  • European University College Brussels, Dubai
  • Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government
  • Mahatma Gandhi University
  • Manipal Academy of Higher Education
  • Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology
  • British University of Dubai, and
  • Zayed University
  • Harvard Medical School Dubai Center (HMSDC) Institute for Postgraduate Education and Research

Starting in fall 2008, Michigan State University will offer undergrad and graduate degrees in Dubai. Moreover, Rochester Institute of Technology plans to open a satellite campus in Dubai Silicon Oasis in the same season.

Dubai is also setting-up a 2.33-million-square-metre, multi-university complex by the name of Dubai Knowledge Universities (DKU), in the heart of its ‘Academic City’.

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