A complete guide: How to choose the right school in Dubai

KT file photo
KT file photo

Now that you have decided to enroll your child in school, here are the next steps.

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By Web Team

Published: Sun 26 Feb 2017, 11:57 AM

Last updated: Wed 18 Jan 2023, 10:20 AM

Parents are no strangers to scrambling for admission to schools in Dubai. While getting an admission in schools here is not an easy job, it would be helpful to have a handy list of things to do. Khaleej Times has got you covered.

There are 173 private schools in Dubai with a total of 265,299 students, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Dubai private school at a glance

Getting admission

In the UAE, the academic year starts in September and runs till June. However for Indian and Pakistani curriculum schools, the academic year starts in April. Parents need to mandatorily enroll their kids to school starting from Grade 1.

Read: Private tuition for as much as Dh400 an hour in Dubai

Age criteria

The age of the child eligible for admission is calculated as his/her age on the 31st of July for Indian and Pakistani curriculum schools, or 31st December for others.

All schools will have to complete the admission formalities with KHDA. You will have to submit a copy of your child's passport and residence visa, a copy of the birth certificate (if the passport does not state the exact date of birth), a passport-sized photograph and attested certificates and/or transfer certificate (if registering at Grade 2 or above).

Choosing a school

The UAE Ministry of Education website provides an interactive service that uses Google Maps to show the details of each school in the UAE.

Dubai to add 27 private schools and 63,000 seats

There is a unique information card for each school that contains the following information:

type (males/females/mixed);

category (public/private);

the number of students registered in the present academic year;

the number of teachers and the contact information of the school administration.

Source: KHDA, Edarabia.com

Infographics: http://www.edarabia.com/dubai-school-fees/| http://www.edarabia.com/schools/dubai/

Schools in Dubai have just been given the go ahead to increase their tuition fees for the 2017/18 academic year. The move has been welcomed by schooling organisations but it has left parents feeling mixed.

The new Education Cost Index (ECI) rate for 2017 is set at 2.4 per cent as per the Dubai Statistics Centre. Eligible schools will now be allowed to increase their fees by between 2.4 per cent and a maximum of 4.8 per cent, based on the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) fees framework.

As per the new fees structure, 'outstanding' schools will be eligible for an adjustment of up to double the ECI (4.8 per cent), 'very good' schools are eligible for up to 1.75 times (4.2 per cent), 'good schools' up to 1.5 times (3.6 per cent), and the rest are allowed an increase equivalent to the ECI per cent. But this all depends on how they fare in their most recent Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) results.

With 16 schools currently noted as 'outstanding' according to the KHDA's latest schools directory, only time will tell if they manage to maintain that rating, thus qualifying for the maximum 4.8 per cent increase. And according to WhichSchoolAdvisor, that could deliver an extra Dh3.4 million a year for Dubai's most expensive 'outstanding' rated school.

New private schools do not have the right to increase tuition fees for the first three years of operation.

Academic calendar

The dates of holidays and commencement for the upcoming school year have been announced for UAE schools. According to The UAE Ministry of Education, the next school year will start on September 10 for students and September 3 for teachers.

The students will be getting a three-week break during winter and a two week break for spring. The last day of school for students is June 28, 2018, and teachers will work until July 5th. The school year will last 181 days.

Here's the annual school calendar 2017 / 2018:

Annual school calendar for Dubai public and private schools

The official UAE school calendar 2017-2018 has been published at the official website of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

According to the academic calendar, the next school year in all public and private schools following the national curriculum will start on September 10, 2017 and will end on June 28, 2018.

The winter break is expected to last for two weeks, from December 24 to January 7, 2018, when the second term begins.

The spring break for students begins on Sunday, March 25, 2018 and lasts for two weeks, and the classes will resume on Sunday, April 8, 2018.

The last day of school for students is June 28, 2018.

The academic calendar for Dubai Private Schools that begins in September

The academic calendar for Dubai Private Schools that begins in April

Indian schools have a different schedule - Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) - follow an academic year from April to March. Pakistani and Japanese schools in the UAE also follow this schedule.

Details of the current academic school year (2016-2017)

All private schools must tentatively communicate Public holidays (like Eid, National day and other similar holidays) to the parents and confirm these holidays to the parent once declared by the UAE government authority.

Also read: 55% Dubai Indian schools rated 'good'

The best Indian schools in Dubai are...

Indian curriculum schools in Dubai have been showing significant improvements in performance, according to the 2015-16 inspections results from Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Of the 29 Indian curriculum schools inspected in Dubai, two have been rated outstanding, three very good, 11 good, 11 acceptable and two were found to be weak.

GEMS Modern Academy and The Indian High School are the only two schools in the report who've been given an outstanding rating for the fifth consecutive time. School management of both schools said that they were elated at the report of results of the inspection. Three schools - Delhi Private School, GEMS Our Own English High School, and the Millennium School have shown considerable improvement and are now in the 'Very Good' category.

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