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Education system in Dubai

Dubai has the highest population and is the second largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates after Abu Dhabi.

Dubai is distinct from other members of the UAE in that revenues from oil account for only 6% of its gross domestic product. A majority of the Dubai's revenues are from the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZ) and, increasingly, from tourism and Dubai property investment.

With enormous construction and development in various industries, Dubai has attracted world-wide attention through innovative Dubai property projects, sports events, conferences and Guinness records.

If you are considering moving to Dubai with family and are interested in finding out about the education system and the availability and quality of schools, one of the best ways is to ask around and find a lot of information about Dubai education!

Education is compulsory in the UEA for all children aged five and above, and state education is provided for UAE nationals up to the age of 18. There are also a number of local private schools. There are a small number of universities in the UAE which offer accredited degree and diploma courses, including the American University of Dubai, but the higher education sector is still limited and the children of expatriates often return to their home countries for a university education.

A rapid rise in population has necessitated a considerable investment in education. Today, the UAE offers a comprehensive education to all male and female students from kindergarten to university, with education for the country’s citizens being provided free at all levels. There is also an extensive private education sector, while several thousand students, of both sexes, pursue courses of higher education abroad at Government expense.

Much has been achieved since the early 1970s but efforts are now being made to improve the educational environment for all pupils, in line with a re-evaluation of the role of government. In particular, Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), is spearheading privatization of the education sector in Abu Dhabi.

Over 40 per cent of pupils attend private schools. Some of these offer foreign language education geared towards expatriate communities, usually preserving the culture and following the curriculum of the students’ countries of origin. There is extremely wide variation in the fees for an international school education in Dubai, from around Dhs 3,000 to Dhs 40,000 per year.

When deciding on the type of education best suited to your child(ren)’s needs, you should also ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are Dubai’s educational system and examination qualifications recognised in your home country, the country in which your child will probably eventually have to make his way?
  • When your child returns to your native country, will his education be ahead of or behind that of his peers?
  • What is the academic record of the school you propose to select?

The UAE has established an excellent and diversified system of higher education in a very short period of time. Nationals can attend government institutions free of charge, and a wide range of private institutions, many with international accreditation, supplement the public sector. The country now has one of the highest application participation rates in the world. Ninety-five per cent of all females and 80 per cent of all males who are enrolled in the final year of secondary school apply for admission to a higher education institution or to study abroad.

Author: by Carol Grant

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