For those foreign parents planning to immigrate to the United Arab Emirates along with their children, they need to understand the education system in the UAE so that children’s education doesn’t get compromised due to immigration.

However, here is good news for all those parents since international students can attend public and private schools in the UAE, provided they pay the required fees. Since the government school offers free education only to the citizens of the country.

In the early 1960s, there were just some formal schools in the UAE. But now, with the advancement in technology, the Gulf country has a large number of reputed schools and provides higher education facilities to all national and international students. Abu Dhabi alone has 296 public schools, while Dubai has nearly 200 private schools that serve more than 300,000 UAE children and international students.

The UAE primarily focuses on improving the education system to enhance the economy and business sector. However, many government schools in the UAE have made different study environments for male and female students with distinctive school hours.

As a result, the quality of education will remain comparable for both genders. In addition, there are approximately 40% of students in the UAE enrolled in private schools. Some of these schools cater to the expatriate community and teach foreign languages to respect their culture and follow their curriculum.

The Education System in the UAE

The Ministry of Education (MoE) is solely is responsible for the UAE’s educational system at all levels, from Kindergarten to higher education. Apart from the Ministry of Education, the UAE has its own local governing bodies:

  • Abu Dhabi: the Department of Education and Knowledge
  • Dubai: the Dubai Education Council and Knowledge and Human Development Authority
  • Sharjah: Sharjah Private Education Authority (created by the Sharjah government in 2018)

For all the kids aged 6-18 years, the UAE government has made it mandatory to complete the schooling. This criterion also applies to the international students who recently migrated along with their parents or immediate relatives.

There are government schools in the UAE that offer free education to the nationals of the country. Still, unfortunately, the expats need to pay the required fee for both public and private schools.

Besides providing Arabic courses, the public schools focused on keeping English as a second language, making it easier for international students to understand the concepts. In addition, many international schools are available for those parents wishing to provide their kids with an education similar to their home country’s education system.

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UAE Education Facts

  • Since 2018, the UAE government has granted permission for mixed-gender classes in government schools for kindergarten and Grade1 students. Over the next few years, mixed-gender classes will be introduced in grades 2 to 4.
  • Whether you have taken admission in government or private schools, all the students need to wear a school uniform.
  • While the UAE has education systems worldwide, most of its schools follow the UK educational system.
  • Both primary and secondary schools are available. To graduate from primary to secondary school, they won’t need to attend a separate school.

What Is the School System Like in the UAE?

When it comes to the UAE school year, this is categorized into two parts. For the majority of the schools in the UAE, the academic year begins in September and ends in June. In comparison, Indian, Pakistan, and Japanese schools begin in April and end in March.

However, the school hours vary from school to school. Basically, the school hours begin from 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. and go somewhere till 14:00 to 15:00. However, it’s quite challenging to determine the exact school hours since it depends on grade level and, for public schools, categorized male and female classes. In kindergarten and elementary school, the school day is shorter than in secondary school.

In government schools, the students are instructed in the Arabic language for all the subjects. However, the English language is also used, but that’s the second language only used to explain the scientific and technical subjects. Therefore, the UAE mandated a shift in the curriculum to incorporate more English language instruction into core classes to improve English proficiency among its students.

UAE Schooling Levels

There are four tiers of education in the UAE:

KindergartenKG 1 and KG 24–5 years old
Primary SchoolGrade 1–66–11 years old
Preparatory StageGrade 7–912–14 years old
Secondary School GradeGrade 9–1215–17 years old

What are the School Ages in the UAE?

Grade/YearAge Range
Pre-kindergarten/FS 13–4
KG 1/FS 24–5
KG 2/Year 15–6
Grade 1/Year 26–8
Grade 2/Year 37–9
Grade 3/Year 48–10
Grade 4/Year 59–11
Grade 5/Year 610–12
Grade 6/Year 711–13
Grade 7/Year 812–14
Grade 8/Year 913–15
Grade 9/Year 1014–17
Grade 10/Year 1115–18
Grade 11/Year 1216–19
Grade 12/Year 1317–20

Students need to meet the minimum age requirement by July 31 to be admitted into an April starting batch. For school batch starting in December, students need to meet the minimum age requirement by December 31.

UAE Grading System

Standard grading in UAE schools is based on the American grading system, although it may differ from school to school.


What is Education Like in the UAE?

UAE students were required to enroll in either a scientific or literary degree program before 2015. Now, the UAE has introduced four streams:

General stream: Initially, every student starts their education in this stream. This stream consists of arts, math, and sciences courses. However, once students promote to new classes, more focus is given to maths and sciences.

Professional streams: Professional streams are commonly known as vocational streams. The students have the option to switch to this stream in Grade 9. After completing grade 12, students will receive a certificate similar to the technical high school certificate. Students who study this track develop practical skills while applying their knowledge.

Advanced stream: Math and science courses are the only things that differentiate this stream from the General stream.

Elite stream (Advanced Science Program): This stream is mainly for academically brilliant students. The stream welcomes students from 6th grade to 12th grade. The primary focus of this stream is mathematics and science, at the same time giving equal importance to analysis, reasoning, and problem-solving.

Among the biggest differences between private and public schools in the UAE is gender separation. According to the law, in the UAE public schools, the boys and girls are taught separately in most of the primary and almost to all the secondary levels to avoid meetups during school time. Meanwhile, mixed-gender classes are common in private schools, regardless of the grade level.

Parents who recently immigrated to the UAE want their children to receive the equivalent education system to that of home country. Here is the good news for all the expats out there. The private schools in UAE offer all the more same curriculum followed by the British, American, French, German, Indian, Pakistan, or Filipino teachings. Besides these courses, the private school does offer core programs, including Islamic education, social studies, and Arabic as a second language.

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Required Documents for UAE Private Schools

Students looking to enroll in a private school in the UAE need to meet the following requirements:

  • Emirates ID;
  • birth certificate;
  • immunization records;
  • Students in Grades 2/Year 3 and higher must present a certificate of last grade/year of enrollment, along with the transfer certificate or school leaving certificate attested by the UAE Embassy in the country in which the certificate was issued;
  • If the student were previously homeschooled or experienced an education gap, they would need to take the international level examination.
  • The relevant local authority must certify all academic-related or any other certificates issued within the UAE.

Students may be allowed to enroll in some schools without obtaining all of the above given necessary documents. Some schools have long waiting lists, and beware of those schools that offer placement guarantees instantly if a monetary donation is promised. Such schools only try to increase the number rather than focus on improving the quality of education.

Daycare and Kindergarten

In the UAE, there is no mandatory criteria for students to attend preschool or kindergarten.. However, students should feel comfortable attending daycare, preschool, or kindergarten since it will prepare them for entering primary school.

At What Age Do Children Start Kindergarten?

Kids in the UAE are allowed to begin going to kindergarten between the ages of 4 and 6. It is a voluntary program for children who are not yet old enough to attend grade 1 or 2. Children attend mixed-gender kindergarten for two years in two levels:

  • Kindergarten 1 (KG1)
  • Kindergarten 2 (KG2)

In Kindergarten 1 and 2, the focus is on promoting social, language, physical, and academic skills.

Daycare and Kindergarten Fees

Fees for childcare and kindergarten differ based on the school you choose. In some schools, children who attend classes two or three days a week pay as little as 7,000 AED (1905 USD) for an academic term. However, some schools charge students as much as 50,000 AED (13,610 USD) five days a week, depending on the school.

How much does it Cost to Study in the UAE for International Students?

The greatest matter of concern for studying in Gulf countries is the expensive university tuition fees. This cost becomes even higher if the cost of living is added to it considering the UAE economy.

Dubai, the most costly city in the Emirates, charges from 37,500 to 70,000 AED per year for undergraduate programs (10,210 to 19,060 USD) and between 55,000 and 75,000 AED per year (14,970 to 20,420 USD) for postgraduate programs. In addition to the tuition fee, prospective students should allocate an additional 1,200 AED ($330) a month for living expenses.

International students can apply for scholarships at each university and through the UAE government, though most are awarded based on academic achievement.

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Hopefully, you are now familiar with the UAE education system. So if you are planning to migrate to UAE for education purposes, you are making the right choice; keep all the above-given points in mind. Also, be alert from the fake universities that promise placement in return for a donation.

Apart from this, you can reach out to UAE assignment help for university assignment help. Since students get numerous assignments to work on, which becomes challenging to manage, don’t worry. Our assignment experts have got you covered. We have a cheap assignment writing service with the relevant experience and knowledge to meet all your assignment needs.

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