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Education System in Dubai

Education in Dubai covers the levels of primary, secondary and collegiate education. The school system in Dubai is not different from the education system in the United Arab Emirates. There are many public and private schools catering to Emiratis and expatriates. The Ministry of Education of the United Arab Emirates is responsible for accreditation of schools.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) supervises all schools, institutes, vocational institutions, adult and special needs centers, day care centers and government and private universities in Dubai .

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Types of Schooling in Dubai

  • Public Schooling

    Primary and secondary education is free of cost for all Emiratis and compulsory for boys and girls from age 5 until 15. Upon graduating from secondary school, students are awarded with either a Secondary School Leaving Certificate or Technical Secondary Diploma. The medium of instruction in public schools is Arabic with emphasis on English as a second language. There are no co-educational schools.

  • Private Schooling

    American, British and International Baccalaureate curricula are taught in English.

    All students who are not of Arab heritage are needed to take Arabic language classes. Muslim and Arab students must also take Islamic studies.


Stages of Education in Dubai



  • Kindergarten

    Age level from: 4 to: 5 years old

    At the Kindergarten level children learn art, music, religion, English, Arabic and math. Kindergartens also offer different types of activities for the kids. Dubai has many English-speaking kindergartens and most of them are situated in Jumeirah and Umm Suquiem areas.

  • Primary Education

    Age level from:6 to 12

    Length of programme in years:6

    Fees:Average Fees in private schools is approximately Dhs. 3000 in schools. Primary section is usually of six years and age level is from 6 to 12 years.

    Primary education is compulsory from the age of 5 by the Ministry of Education in the UAE.

    American curriculum runs from Kindergarten (5 years old) to Grade 8 (14 years old).

    British curriculum runs from Year 1 (4-5 years old) to Year 9 (14 years old).

    For admission, some schools conduct entrance tests. The new term in most of British schools in Dubai starts in September. In all other schools new term begins in April. During July and August all schools are closed for holidays.

    At primary level, English is the medium of instruction language in most of schools in Dubai. Large numbers of schools which teach children in other foreign languages, French, Hindi, even Russian.

  • Preparatory Education

    Age level from: 12 to: 15

    Length of programme in years: 3

  • Secondary Education

    Age level from: 15 to: 18

    Length of programme in years: 3

    Certificate/diploma awarded: Secondary School Leaving Certificate

    Fees:An average fee in private schools is varying up to Dhs 25000.

    Dubai has a large number of international high schools which offers large scale of curriculums to expatriates as well as domicile residents from Indian CBSE to IGCSE.. Compulsory subjects in most of the school include math, social studies, physical education, religion and Arabic. Pupil can choose subjects such as science, languages, sociology, history, computer studies etc. The offered subjects depend on school education system.

    Most of the secondary schools require students to take standardized tests such as, Advanced Placement, SAT, IB Diploma, IGCSE, GCE Advanced level or CBSE.

  • Technical Secondary School

    Age level from: 12 to: 18

    Length of programme in years: 6

    Certificate/diploma awarded: Technical Secondary Diploma.

    A large number of Dubai’s universities offer various master and PhD postgraduate programs. Technical Secondary School Length of programme is about 6years and age level is from 12 to 18 years. Certificate/diploma awarded: Technical Secondary Diploma.

  • Tertiary Education

    Non University Level

    Higher technical and vocational studies are offered by Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah and Fujairah. Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research operates these colleges. They only accept UAE nationals, although in some cases exceptions may be granted. The Colleges aim to produce skilled para-professionals in the fields of Engineering, Business, Health and Communication Technology, etc. The language of instruction is English. For admission, students must have obtained at least 60% at the Shahadat Al-Thanawiya Al-Amma. Many students are required to take a foundation year. The colleges offer a two-year programme leading to a Diploma and a three-year programme leading to a Higher Diploma. In recent years, programmes have been organized leading to the four-year Bachelor’s Degree in some fields including education, business, IT, health sciences, communications and engineering. There is also a medical college for girls, a banking training institute, a college of engineering and an aviation college, as well as schools of nursing and private colleges.

Also read: TOEFL- Benefits of taking the test

University Level Studies


  • University Level First Stage: Bachelor’s Degree
Studies leading to the Bachelor’s Degree at the national universities last for four years. The primary language of instruction is English, with the exception of studies in Sharia law which is taught in Arabic.
  • University Level Second Stage: Master’s Degree
A Master’s Degree is awarded after one year’s further study beyond the Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Engineering and Environmental Sciences and a Postgraduate Diploma is offered by the College of Education of the University.
  • Higher Colleges of Technology
A system of UAE colleges offering a more technically oriented education was devised in 1988. The four founding Higher Colleges of Technology (HCTs) began the new experiment with an enrolment of 239 students. Today, 12 colleges for men and women in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Madinat Zayed, Dubai, Ra’s al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Fujairah,  provide a range of programmes to over 15,000 students in technologically equipped campuses. The Centre of Excellence for Applied Research and Training(CERT), is now the largest private education provider in the region, has also been at the forefront of providing specialized customized training, promoting entrepreneurship and creativity, and facilitating technological advance through its technology park.
  • Private Institutions

Many excellent private institutions offer a wide range of tertiary-level options. Some of the reputed institutions include the American Universities of Sharjah and Dubai, Sharjah University and the Ajman University of Science and Technology. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research is responsible for the accreditation of institutes and degrees, and its website  provides a comprehensive list of recognized institutes and programmes.

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