Dubai private schools hit highest enrolment ever: Why is the city so popular to study in?

The Emirate has seen a 4.9 per cent enrolment growth


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 15 Apr 2022, 6:59 PM

Last updated: Sat 16 Apr 2022, 5:21 PM

Dubai schools have seen the highest ever enrolment this year, owing to the continuous effort they put in implementing tech-driven and experiential education.

Experts say design and creativity has led to innovation, and customizing learning curricula, to suit different education needs, has led to the growth in enrolment figures.

The Emirate has seen a 4.9 per cent enrolment growth in Dubai’s private school sector since September 2021.

Alan Williamson, CEO, Taaleem says: “This has been achieved by a unique partnership between the regulators and the school operators where quality, choice and affordability have been successfully balanced. The quality of any school never exceeds the quality of its teachers and schools in the UAE have worked hard to attract the very best teaching talent from around the globe. Additionally, rather than following on the coattails of traditional education models, schools in the UAE are now leading the way in curricula innovations, embracing cutting edge technology, and developing holistic approaches to students’ well-being.”

Heads of other major school groups in the Emirate say that the education sector in Dubai has been steadily growing and improving over the years.

This has been a result of a combination of sustained investment in infrastructure and teachers, and effective direction and support from regulators.

Elmarie Venter, Chief Operations and Marketing Officer, Gems Education says: “Families can send their children to truly world-class schools that offer every major curriculum and at all price points, and which open the door to top universities, careers, and opportunities across the globe. The rise in enrolments that we are seeing today is a reflection of the high quality of education on offer, as well as the enduring attractiveness of the Emirate as an ideal place to do business and raise a family. The agility and stability that the sector demonstrated during the pandemic to ensure children continue to learn and make progress is another factor.”

The number of students attending Dubai private schools has topped 300,000 for the first time ever. A total of 303,262 students are enrolled in Dubai’s private schools, up from 289,019 in September 2021.

“Gems Education Indian curriculum schools in the UAE, which recently began a new academic year, have seen a 6 per cent year-on-year increase in enrolments. Gems Education international schools, meanwhile, comprising non-Indian curriculum schools, have seen a 70 per cent increase in Term 3 new joiners compared to this time last year. Overall, the reported 4.9 per cent year-on-year growth is mirrored across our network,” adds the Chief Operations and Marketing Officer of the largest school group in the UAE.

Experts reiterate the rise in school enrolment reflects Dubai’s growing attractiveness as a lifestyle, business and investment destination encouraging families from across the world to relocate to the city.


Peter Davos, Founder and CEO of Hale Education Group syas: “There has been an influx of tens of thousands of expats seeking to enjoy the security, prosperity, and quality of life that Dubai has to offer. While other countries are still reeling economically and socially from the effects of the pandemic, Dubai has offered a refuge in which one can enjoy everyday normalcy. The most selective schools are all oversubscribed and new transplants to Dubai are scrambling for remaining spaces for the upcoming school year.”

Dubai currently has 215 schools providing 18 curriculum choices.

Explaining what strikes parents, the most, Dubai resident and Filipino expat Ben Lebig says: “Dubai’s private schools have consistently focused on improvement and growth, especially in the last few years. The education community and we as parents have observed a steady positive change, especially, in this Emirate. The growth has been in line with the policies that the UAE government has adopted, and the sector is now bearing the fruits of that wisdom. That’s why Dubai is rapidly becoming an education hub. We as parents have started feeling more confident about the schools and curricula here. Earlier, a lot of parents used to home-school their children, where their wards were enrolled to a curriculum in their home countries. That mind set is changing. Parents of different nationalities are increasingly getting their children enrolled in schools here, that offer multiple curricula and top-quality education in different fee categories.”

Parent of a Dubai-based student, Hozefa Arsiwala says, “Dubai’s education standards are at another level. From tech-enabled classrooms to unique extracurricular activities, the schools have outstanding offerings which are hard to find across the world. In addition, the rates are competitive, and the level of education is a step ahead than many other countries. Also, ever since Covid hit, the schools - including the staff and management have gone out of their way to ensure children's safety and security. This is a key reason that people from all over the world prefer to live, study and work in Dubai.”

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