Schools in the United
Arab Emirates


The UAE has an impressive range of schools that cater to the large expat community that call its emirates home. Mostly located in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, these schools offer a wide range of international curricula and adhere to high standards.

Due to the language and cultural barriers, as well as bureaucratic challenges, public schools are not usually accessible to foreign children and expats generally tend to send their children to private international schools in the UAE.

International schools in the UAE offer a wide variety of curricula and teaching philosophies, with the British, American and Indian curricula being the most common. Many of these schools also offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, which is internationally recognised.

Students at international schools in the UAE are required to complete an Arabic course. Though no subject testing will take place in this language, students are expected to achieve basic proficiency as part of their studies.

All schools in the UAE are required to adhere to a uniform school calendar, made up of three terms, with the school year running from September to July. The school week runs from Sunday to Thursday, and school hours vary depending on the institution.

Despite the huge variety of options, finding a school can easily be the biggest challenge new arrivals need to overcome as a result of severe shortages of space, especially in primary schools. Added to this, international school fees can be extremely high, so expat parents planning a move to the UAE should start the school enrollment process as early as possible.