Education in Dubai

A key concern of parents moving to Dubai and the Middle East is how to select a school for their children, and which curriculum to choose. The educational landscape of Dubai is richly varied and as diverse as the number of expat nationalities residing there. The Taaleem school group gives advice for parents on finding the right school for their child.

How to find a school

According to the Alpen Capital’s, the GCC Education Industry,  latest report on education,  the student population in the region is expected to grow from 10.2 million in 2011 to 11.6 million by 2016.Expat children are required to attend private non-profit schools, and free public education is only available to Emirati passport holders.UK-based ISC Research recently reported that demand for school places, continues to outstrip supply, making competition for school places intense. In recent years, the Dubai Government has made the development of the social and educational infrastructure in schools a top priority in order to keep up with population increase.Competition for school places means that new Dubai expat parents should start the school search as soon as possible. Even before you are in the country, it is a good idea to begin researching schools.

Select a curriculum

Each private school follows a set curriculum and is assessed by the Dubai Ministry of Education's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).Dubai is home to over 100 expat nationalities, all arriving with different education expectations.The curriculums can be grouped into four types: British, American, International Baccalaureate (IB), and Indian National.For parents with children already at school in their home country, continuation of the curriculum is often a priority. But for many families the IB curriculum is often the best choice for curriculum continuity, given its availability in many countries.Said Adora Wosnick, marketing officer at Greenfield Community School, “Parents of the next generation are looking towards international schools to satisfy the need for critical thinking rather than learning by rote. Parents clearly see international schools as a route through for university opportunities, and that direction is fuelling the local demand for IB childhood education."The IB is now offered in over 2,000 schools in 125 countries to 500,000 students aged from three to 19 years. It provides a rigorous academic plan, a high rate of university acceptance, and continuity for these mobile workers.

Tour the school

Each school offers tours and meetings to acquaint prospective parents with the school, curriculum and staff. During the tour, you will set up an assessment for your child, which is required by Dubai private schools before acceptance.

A final word

Even with the many schools operating in Dubai, and the increasing number of schools being built, there is still great competition for school places. If you are considering a move to Dubai, start your school search, and put in your applications, as soon as possible, to avoid disappointment.

Greenfield Community School

  • Location: Green Community
  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) World School
  • Facilities: Two swimming pools, auditorium, design technology, information technology and science laboratories, drama, music and art studios, two libraries, tennis courts, gymnasium, sports field, shaded outdoor play areas and indoor play areas, two cafeterias.
Said Angela Hollington, principal of Greenfield Community School, “We ask students to be intellectually curious, inviting them to research and hypothesise.”“We implement the IB Programme that is academically rigorous and stimulating, requiring high standards for teaching and learning.”

Uptown School

  • Location: Mirdif
  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) World School
  • Facilities: Beginning in autumn 2012, Uptown Primary School will commence its move to a new six-hectare campus, two blocks from its current location. The new facility campus sits on approximately six hectares of prime land and will have a range of facilities, such as: a teaching swimming pool, a 25 metre competition pool, auditorium, wireless connectivity in classrooms, science laboratories, drama, music and art studios, two libraries, tennis courts, gymnasium, FICA sports pitch, shaded outdoor play areas, two cafeterias.
Said Tim Waley, the principal “At Uptown, we believe in the rigorous academic curriculum of IB and balance it with music, art and physical education.”“We also offer a wide and varied extra-curricular programme, created to foster healthy, well-rounded students.”

Jumeira Baccalaureate School

  • Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB) and International Primary Curriculum (IPC), IB World School
  • Grades: Pre-K to Grade 11 (Grade 12 will open for September 2014)

Dubai British School

  • Curriculum:British (National Curriculum for England)
  • Grades: Pre-K to Grade 13

Al-Mizhar American Academy

  • Curriculum:American International
  • Grades: Pre-K to Grade 12
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