Resident Guide | Information

Your children's schooling needs

Primary education is compulsory in the UAE for children of all nationalities who are over five years old. In order to enroll your child in a school - either private or public - in the country, the child must have a valid residence visa.

  • By Bassma Al Jandaly, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 10:26 July 20, 2009

Children's schooling needs
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archive
  • The UAE has a large number of community schools that cater to citizens from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Japan and many others.

Dubai: Primary education is compulsory in the UAE for children of all nationalities who are over five years old.

In order to enroll your child in a school - either private or public - in the country, the child must have a valid residence visa.

Government schools offer free education only to UAE citizens.

A Cabinet decision issued in 2006 allowed expatriate children to be enrolled in government schools, but they must pay fees set by the government.

The UAE has a large number of community schools that cater to citizens from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Japan and many others.

These schools follow the educational system in their own respective countries.

Apart from that there are also international schools that offer British and US curriculums. Annual fees in such schools range between Dh15,000 and Dh100,000.

Academic fee structures are decided by the schools, but they are subject to approval from the Ministry of Education.

In the UAE pupils are allowed to switch their schools as well as curriculums.

Switching of schools are allowed at the end of an academic year. The ministry on special cases allows a child to change schools during the academic year.

However, switching of curriculums such as shifting to American or British syllabus is allowed only till the ninth grade. Study of Arabic is mandatory in all schools and classes.

According to ministry rules, children from Grade 1 to 4 must pass from one grade to another automatically and cannot repeat the same academic year.

Schools here also prepare pupils in Grades 9 to 12 for IGCSE, TOEFL and SAT I and II.

Majority of the schools here do not allow co-education. Girls and boys have separate sections or schools from Grade 5 onwards as per education ministry directives.

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