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Schools across Dubai say the increase in admissions this year can be attributed to a number of reasons. Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: As a fresh term begins, several UAE schools have revealed that they are registering an uptake of students this academic year, even as applications for the next are steadily coming in.

The Taaleem Premium Group of Schools for one has seen a 16 per cent rise in its student admissions so far this year. “For the academic year 2022-23, we have achieved an overall admission growth of over 16 per cent,” said Lisa Whyte, Group Head of Admissions Taaleem.

The group also noted a four per cent decrease in students leaving its schools. “While it is expected that there will be students leaving due to families relocating to another country, we are pleased to report that the number of leaving students is down by four per cent compared to the same period last year. ”

Of the new students, on average, 34 per cent are joining from another country. “This figure demonstrates the increasing interest and demand for premium education in the UAE,” said Whyte.

Looking ahead to the academic year 2023-24, Taaleem has reported that applications for its premium schools are already up by five per cent compared to the same period last year.

Strong interest

“This indicates a continued strong interest in our schools and reflects the success of our ongoing efforts to provide the best education possible for our students at an affordable price. We are committed to investing in our educators, leveraging technology to enhance learning outcomes and providing an inclusive learning environment that fosters personal and academic growth,” added Whyte.

Alan Williamson, chief executive officer of Taaleem, said: “We are competing globally to recruit the best teachers available and are investing in ‘outstanding’ educators as well as further capital expenditure, and school improvement initiatives that will enhance the learning environment for our students. Our values-based education model is reflected in our recent Taaleem Inspection outcomes, where we have seen 84 indicators improve across our six schools. We are particularly proud of the further improvements we have made in Arabic and Islamic studies, which reflect our commitment to providing a well-rounded education that respects the UAE’s culture and traditions. Taaleem remains dedicated to providing the best possible education for our students, and we are confident that our ongoing efforts will continue to enhance their academic and personal growth. We understand the importance of affordability and accessibility, and we will continue to work towards making education accessible to all families, regardless of their financial situation.”

80 more students

Rob Kesterton, Acting Principal, Jumeriah College said: “The school has expanded its Year 7 by 80 students, which provides another four teaching groups. We are looking to expand in Years 8, 9, 10 and 12 as well. We are completely inclusive. Our students encompass a broad range of abilities and nationalities. We are very proud of our SEN provision, and our consistent world-leading value-added can only be achieved with a very inclusive intake.”

At full capacity

Maryssa O’Connor CEO/Principal, GEMS Wellington International School and Senior Vice-President – Education, GEMS Education, said: “We have seen an increase in the number of admissions and GEMS Wellington International School alone is currently at capacity for students. GEMS Wellington International School is a very popular school, and we continue to see applications from within the UAE and overseas. We have a non-selective admissions process and an inclusive and international cohort of students. The school does have a waiting list in some year groups and gives priority to our current families who wish to re-enrol for the next academic year.”

Massive interest in new admissions

Pramod Mahajan, Director and Principal of Sharjah Indian School – Al Ghubaiba, also said the school has seen a massive interest in new admissions. “For KG 1 admissions alone, we have seen 2,000 applications. Owing to the high demand, we decided to put out a draw and admit students. We have also seen a high demand for applications for Grade 11. We already have 11 sections in the school for this grade. So we are holding entrance tests to admit new students. Existing students for Grade 11 are also being given admission based on their half yearly exams and pre-board results. We are taking an average and if they score above 60 per cent, we are admitting them.”

25 per cent increase

The Indian Academy also recorded an increase in student applications by 25 per cent for the new academic year compared to last year. “This could be attributed to our school’s rating and the influx of families into the UAE,” said Shiny Davison, Principal. “We have a good number of enrolments this academic year with a count of 510 as of now. This is from within and outside the emirate of Dubai,” she added.

Davison added another factor attracting parents to enroll their children into Indian Academy could be the fact that the school is not increasing its fees. “The Indian Academy is very much involved in the well-being aspect of all our stakeholders. We will not be increasing the fees though we have been given the option by KHDA. We will strive to give the best within the approved fee structure in the current academic year 2023-24,” she said.

The Indian High Group of Schools, which is also not increasing its fees, said it has seen a steady growth of students over the years. “We will not be raising fees for the new academic year,” said Punit MK Vasu, CEO of IHS, adding that the school’s success has been marked by an efficient utilisation of resources.