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Dubai offers excellent conditions for quality education. The emirate boasts numerous prestigious schools that follow the International Baccalaureate program or national curricula from various countries. Education in these institutions is conducted in English. For expatriates facing language barriers, the city offers courses that help children reach the necessary proficiency level. For students who only have a few years left of schooling, the Russian International School in Dubai is an ideal solution. This school provides education in the Russian language and follows the Russian educational standards.

Features of Secondary Education in the UAE

Schools in the UAE use different educational programs. Public schools adhere to the Arabic system, while private schools apply both national and international standards. In total, there are 17 programs in private schools, allowing parents to choose the most suitable one for their child.

Education in Dubai schools consists of three stages: Primary, Preparatory, and Secondary. The second and third stages are often used in technical schools. Many educational institutions follow the K-12 standard, providing education from kindergarten through the last grade of school in one institution. Upon graduation, students take the EmSAT test, which can be used for admission to colleges or universities.

Public Schools

Public schools in Dubai and across the country offer education at four levels:

  • Preschool (ages 3 to 5)
  • Primary School (ages 6 to 11)
  • Lower Secondary (ages 12 to 15)
  • Upper Secondary (ages 16 to 18)

Preschool education is offered in educational centers or kindergartens based in general education schools. Here, children learn reading, writing, and arithmetic and receive comprehensive development to help them adapt to the school environment more easily. In many schools, a child starts education at age 3 and continues in the same institution until they are 18 years old.

From age 6, children receive compulsory education, and from age 12, they follow the K-12 system. A distinctive feature of this system is separate teaching for girls and boys from grade 7 onwards. Children are taught primarily in Arabic, with some lessons in English to ensure a high level of proficiency in the language. Additionally, the educational program includes mandatory Islamic studies.

Private Schools in the UAE

According to the annual data provided by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), as of 2023, there are 216 private schools in Dubai, educating 326,000 students. The majority of students in private schools are non-residents, with only a little over 32,000 being UAE citizens.

Unlike public institutions that follow the Ministry of Education’s curriculum, private schools offer 17 different educational programs. These can range from the Arabic education system to international curricula based on standards from various countries. The principles of these programs can vary significantly. For example, the British education system spans 13 years.

The most common programs in private schools are those of India, the UK, the USA, and the Ministry of Education (MoE) system, which educate over 90% of students. Additionally, many schools offer the International Baccalaureate, as well as Irish, German, and other systems.

The number of subjects taught in Dubai’s private educational institutions varies from 40 to 50. Instruction is typically conducted in English or in the languages of the countries whose curricula are being used. Despite the autonomy granted to private schools, their operations are closely monitored by both the Ministry of Education and KHDA.

KHDA’s Role

KHDA is a regulatory body operating independently of the Ministry of Education, established by the Dubai government. Its main role is to oversee the quality of teaching in schools and institutions in the city. Based on inspections, KHDA assigns a rating to each school.

The most prestigious schools with the highest ratings (“outstanding”) provide excellent conditions for scientific and creative development. Students can access design studios, laboratories, and various workshops. Some schools are boarding institutions where students can live during the school week, returning home only on weekends or during holidays.

Language and Curriculum Requirements

The UAE government aims for all expatriates living in the country to be proficient in Arabic. Therefore, all schools, including private ones, are required to offer Arabic language classes. Islamic studies are not mandatory in private educational institutions and are taught only if the student wishes to learn them.

School Year

The start and duration of the school year depend on the educational program in each school. For instance, schools following Pakistani or Indian systems begin their academic year in the spring. It’s important to note that some Indian schools may use terms like “English” or “International” in their names, which does not necessarily mean they follow the British or international curriculum. Therefore, it’s crucial to carefully review the school’s curriculum before enrolling.

Tuition Fees in Private Schools

Obtaining a quality education comes at a significant cost. Annual tuition fees range from 3,000 AED to 130,000 AED, depending on several factors:

  • The school’s KHDA rating.
  • The type of educational program (American or British systems are typically more expensive).
  • The age of the student (older students usually incur higher tuition fees).

In addition to tuition, parents must cover additional expenses such as school uniforms, bus transportation, and more.

If a student enrolls in the middle of the academic year, the tuition fees may be lower, depending on the school’s policy. For instance, GEMS Dubai American Academy charges from the month the student was admitted. It’s advisable to confirm the exact enrollment conditions with the school’s admissions office beforehand.

Required Documents for Enrollment

To enroll a foreign child in a Dubai school, parents need to submit an application and provide a set of documents. Applications can be submitted online or in person. Schools do not impose strict deadlines for applications, but the more prestigious the institution, the longer the waiting period for a response. Note that most schools charge an application fee of 525 AED.

Before admission, the child will be required to undergo an assessment, which can be in the form of an interview or a test. Proficiency in English is a crucial requirement for admission. If the child is not proficient in English, parents might consider schools specifically for Russian-speaking students in Dubai.

After the assessment, parents will receive an invitation letter. Based on this letter, a deposit must be paid, which is later deducted from the first trimester or semester’s tuition fee. The deposit usually amounts to up to 25% of the annual tuition fee and is non-refundable, meaning if the parents decide not to enroll the child, the deposit is retained by the school.

Documents required for admission include:

  • A copy of the child’s visa, passport, and birth certificate
  • Copies of the parents’ visas, passports, and Emirates IDs
  • The child’s vaccination record (copy)
  • The child’s Emirates ID
  • Copies of school reports from the past two years
  • A transfer or completion certificate from the current school
  • A passport-sized photo of the child

Russian Schools in Dubai

Foreigners seeking Russian schools in Dubai can consider the Russian International School, the only institution in the emirate that follows the Russian educational curriculum. This school has been operating for over two decades and is ideal for students who find it challenging to start learning in a foreign language immediately after arriving in the UAE.

To ensure the child receives education in a familiar language environment, parents need to pay an annual tuition fee ranging from 26,500 to 32,500 AED. Upon completion of their studies, students take the Unified State Exam (EGE). The school also has a kindergarten with an annual fee of approximately 18,000 AED.

English Schools in Dubai

Dubai is home to numerous English schools known for their high-quality education. For those seeking prestigious institutions, it’s advisable to refer to the KHDA rating, which classifies schools on a five-point scale. The highest rating of “Outstanding” has been awarded to the following English schools:

  • Dubai College: Located in Al Sufouh, this school follows the British curriculum and is renowned for its excellent reputation. It is considered one of the most prestigious schools in the UAE. Dubai College aims to fully develop students’ potential and adheres to the best traditions of British schools. Students are prepared for the British GCSE and A-Level exams. Tuition fees range from 60,000 to 95,000 AED annually.
  • GEMS Dubai American Academy (DAA): Situated in Al Barsha, this is the only school in Dubai that has received the highest rating from KHDA for over ten years. It offers both American and International Baccalaureate (IB) systems, along with professional development and college preparatory courses. Tuition fees range from 61,000 to 82,500 AED per year.
  • Kings’ School Dubai: A primary school that follows the British curriculum, located near the iconic Burj Al Arab with branches in Al Barsha and Nad Al Sheba. It is the only school in the UAE to receive an “Outstanding” rating every year since the inspections began. Tuition fees range from 43,500 to 66,500 AED.
  • GEMS Wellington Academy: Located in Nadd Hessa within the Silicon Oasis Free Zone, this school offers both international and British curricula, ensuring high teaching standards. Annual tuition fees range from 44,000 to 95,500 AED.
  • Repton School: A private day school offering co-educational learning for children aged 3 to 18. It is a branch of the prestigious Repton School in England, situated in Nad Al Sheba, Dubai. Repton School is among the top 15 schools in the Middle East and offers both the British curriculum and the IB program. It also provides boarding facilities for children up to 11 years old. Tuition fees range from 60,000 to 95,000 AED annually.

If you are planning to move to the UAE with your family, consider seeking assistance from the real estate company Alira. Our agents can help you find suitable properties and provide comprehensive support throughout the transaction process. Additionally, we can guide you through Dubai’s educational system, answer any questions you may have, and inform you about the tuition fees in Russian schools. To schedule a consultation with our experts, call us at +971 (588) 337 903,+7 (986) 927-73-77, or email us at

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