A Guide to Education and International Schools in the UAE

Created19.01.2024, 17.29
Updated24.01.2024, 13.17

This guide offers an overall view of the education system in the UAE. As expat families, you will have a multitude of options to choose from when it comes to types of schools in the UAE.

The education system provides quality, comprehensive and equitable education, with a wide range of learning opportunities for all students.

Types of Schools in the United Arab Emirates

There are three types of schools in the United Arab Emirates. The school system includes three categories: public schools, private schools and higher education establishments.

Public Schools

Public SchoolsPublic schools are under the management of the UAE government. School fees for children with UAE citizenship are state-funded.

Generally, public schools have Arabic educational programs with English as a secondary language.

Private Schools

Private schools are accessible to all students who are UAE citizens or expatriates. They work under the guidance of the Ministry of Education but are not directly managed by the government.

They have different programs such as the International, British and American Bachelor's degrees. As well as the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education: run by the Indian government).

Here is a list of requirements for students wishing to study at a private school in the United Arab Emirates:

Among private schools, the most privileged are international schools. They follow international educational systems based on the American, British, French, German, Indian, Irish, and Canadian models.

GEMS Wellington School (Dubai)Here is a list of some of the international schools in the UAE that attract the attention of expats:

British Schools:

French Schools:

German Schools:

North American International School (Dubai)Others:

Here is a list of requirements for students wishing to study at a private school in the United Arab Emirates:

Note: An entrance exam and interview are sometimes necessary for enrolment. Additionally, most schools have a waiting list.

What are the Differences Between Public and Private Schools in the UAE?The education system in the UAE has different options for public and private schools.

Public education primarily targets Emirati citizens, while private schools offer broad and diverse programs tailored to the expatriate population.

The costs and financing of education in the United Arab Emirates distinguish between public and private schools.

The cost of enrolling fee-paying students in public schools is approximately AED 6,000 per year. Regarding private schools, fees vary depending on the school level, ranging from 2,700 AED to around 70,000 AED.

Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates

When it comes to higher education, there are both public and private universities in the United Arab Emirates. Most Emirati students have free access to higher education at public universities.

Among the top 500 universities in the world, 2 stand out. The University of the United Arab Emirates and the American University of Sharjah.

You will find expatriates coming from all over the world to study alongside Emirati students.

Each university has different admission requirements. We recommend you contact the university of your choice directly to obtain the admission criteria.

Special Needs Education in the UAE

Special Needs Education in the UAEFor students with special educational needs, some schools in the UAE have support programs or separate classroom teaching. There are also public or private specialized schools offering education in Arabic English or both.


It is possible to educate your child at home in the United Arab Emirates. Some parents opt to homeschool for a variety of reasons.

In this case, they must register with the education department of their emirate. They receive books and study materials.

Students must pass the exams corresponding to their level of study at the end of each semester/year.

Educational Support for Expat Students in the UAE

Studying in a foreign country without knowing the country's native language can be difficult for expats. There are a large number of expatriate students in schools in the United Arab Emirates.

International schools offer expatriate students an educational experience similar to that of their home country. Of course, Arabic language courses are still available and sometimes even compulsory.

Do you want to settle in the United Arab Emirates? First of all, choose the real estate of your dreams among our listings of property for sale in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Also check out our UAE Real Estate Buying Guide, for more information, or contact Tekce's real estate experts directly!


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