Schooling Advice For Expatriates In Dubai

There are plenty of good reasons to live and work in the Middle Eastern region as a whole and the United Arab Emirates in particular. Expatriates from all over the globe have been drawn to the UAE in vast numbers over the last decade or so, usually attracted by the high rates of pay that professional people can expect. But, what about the country's services? Chief among these for families that are relocating to the Emirates is the education system. It must be said that although the rate of growth in the Middle East's international schools has been second to none, this does not always equate to the highest quality of education for school-age children in every part of the globe. How does the UAE measure up and how confident can parents be that their relocation will not adversely affect the chances of securing a quality education for their offspring, given the rapid changes in the Emirates' expanding international schools market?

According to the International School Consultancy Group (ISC), which is a research and market intelligence organisation that specialise in international schools across the globe, there is now in excess of 1,300 international schools throughout the Middle East which are English speaking. They claim that all deliver their schooling completely in English. However, they vary greatly. The size, facilities and the favoured curriculum all differ. Furthermore, many of the examinations and learning systems also vary. However, this is usually also reflected in the fees that the schools charge. In the UAE, there are some specifics which can be picked out from the region-wide data. This will be of interest to anyone thinking of relocation to the Dubai area, whether English is their family's first language or not.


UAE – Regional Educational Leader?

 It is fair to say that the United Arab Emirates heads the region in terms of its schooling facilities. The UAE boasts well over 400 international schools which is over thirty per cent of the region's total. This reflects the attractiveness of Dubai and the other Emirates to expatriates wanting to settle with their families – not something that every Middle Eastern state could claim. Not only do the international schools attract expatriate students in sufficient numbers to thrive economically, but as they grow in experience so educational standards rise. It is noteworthy just how many Emirati nationals now make up the pupils of such schools - a significant percentage of the children at each school will not be from an overseas family. Indeed, local families from Dubai are opting for international schools for their children in ever increasing numbers. Since there are no limitations placed on the enrolment of local children at international schools in the Emirates, the combined demand is leading to continued and sustained growth in the sector.

As you might expect, the two hotspots for international schools in the UAE are situated close to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Of the seven Emirates, it is Dubai that possesses greatest number of expatriates and, consequently, the largest concentration of international schools. Back in 2010, the government launched a programme called UAE Vision 2021. This scheme was, according to the government, aimed at making the UAE “amongst the premier countries in the world by the Golden Jubilee in 2021.” Although the programme cut across many different aspects of life, governance and culture, one of the priorities was deemed to be the country's education system, which it planned to transform by 2021. Less than a quarter of the way into that programme, the UAE's schools are benefiting from it immensely already.

Measuring Success

Studies into the educational attitudes of parents in the UAE are a regular occurrence and inform ongoing educational practices. For instance, the findings of a recent survey confirmed that academic record, access to technology and extracurricular activities outweighed fees in importance to most parents. In other words, all-round schooling is deemed to be of greater importance than the expense or location of a particular school. The UK Govt Education Investment Study also found that, when parents evaluate schools in the Emirates, they regard academic record as the most important factor. Followed by the school's reputation, the third most important factor is the range of subjects taught.

Despite surveys like these, assessing the quality of schooling in the UAE is not an easy task for parents relocating from abroad, particularly when they are required to provide a short list of preferred educational establishments before immigrating. Fortunately, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) sets strict regulations for the standards of international schools and accreditation for such schools under the authority is mandatory. KHDA makes regular school inspections and posts the results of its findings on its website, helping to inform parental decision making even before they arrive.

February 2, 2015

Leave a comment

  1. Be the first to comment

Welcome to Brighter Visas, we have immigration experts based in our offices world wide.

Since 1996 we have protected peoples rights and won Immigration cases, securing visas for our clients world wide. We believe we are now the largest and most successful Immigration and visa firm in the world. Servicing both individuals and business needs. We hope you find our site full of helpful advice from our Immigration and visa experts. Brighter Visas employs qualified solicitors, accredited immigration consultants and ex-immigration officers to help our clients win their case, guaranteeing our rate of success continues to be excellent with the highest levels of service.

Start your Assessment Here

Corporate Clients & Testimonials

HSBC Investment Bank  -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
British American Tobbacco -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
East End Foods -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
A.T Kearney Ltd -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
Hayes Recruitment -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
Bank of Montreal -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
AXA PPP -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
Sony UK Ltd -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
IBM UK Ltd -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
The Independent News Paper -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
Express News Papers -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
Boston University -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
ITN -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients
HJ heinz -Brighter Visas's Corporate Clients



My experience with Brighter Visas has been wonderful so far. From the day of my assessment to the day of my application to the day of searching for employment, everything has been very smooth. My consultant, Mr. Luke, has been very helpful and accommodating with all my inquiries and needs. He's always available whenever I have questions or when I'm in need of his assistance. He calls me from time-to-time to update me of my case and assures me that everything is going well, which is why I never worry of my application because I'm confident that I am in good hands and in a good team. Brighter Visas also sends e-news letters, which give me more options and knowledge of the employment in my desired country.

I have already recommended Brighter Visas to my friends and would recommend it to my colleagues.

Thank You, Brighter Visas!


The whole experience of using Brighter Visas was very professional and dealt with extremely efficiently, from initial enquiries with Chetan to structuring the application and final outcome with Simin.

I would recommend Brighter to anyone looking to immigrate and in need of an agent.

Many thanks for a pleasant service and great outcome.


The immigration consultant was very knowlegeable and provided me with a regular update on my case. I never imagined it was for real until i got an email that my green card has been approved. At this point, i am more than willingly to recommend Brighter Visas to friends and family members since they truly are the best in rendering professisonal immigration services to people world over.


It is difficult to explain how good it felt when my visa was approved.  Years of dreaming about living overseas out of the smoke.  Then applying to make the move before I got too old with my whole family was so stressful and exciting but also I was very anxious.  I just want to say thanks to the whole team for my visa but most of all for giving me months of free therapy when I needed a little reassurance I was doing the right thing.  

I love my new life and my kids are doing so well in School it is just amazing.