4 Criteria to Use When Choosing a Private School in Dubai

Education Education
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Ezyschooling Correspondent
5 months ago
4 Criteria to Use When Choosing a Private School in Dubai

The spring edition 2021-2022 report by the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) says that there are 215 private schools in Dubai. There is probably more than that now, as there are 219 entries in the KHDA school directory.

Two hundred and fifteen is a lot, considering that the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education (MoE) has a searchable list of schools in the UAE that — unfiltered for private schools, location, and curriculum — contains only 234 entries. 

Of course, this may just be a matter of the MoE website imposing a limit on the number of schools it will show in any unfiltered school search, but no matter. 

The point is that there are a lot of private schools in Dubai, and anyone thinking of sending their child to a Dubai private school will have a challenging time deciding on a school — thus, this writeup. 

Read on to learn about the criteria you can use to choose a private school for your child in Dubai. 


Also Read | Latest Schools, Students and Teachers Statistics in India 2022


DSIB Rating 

rating medal

You probably know the DSIB as the KHDA rating. 

The KHDA has a school inspection arm, the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB), and its mandate is to inform, convey to and coordinate with schools about the quality standards of private education in Dubai. 

One of its most crucial tasks is to conduct yearly comprehensive school inspections. During these appraisals, the DSIB rates schools according to specific quality indicators, including:

  • Students' attainment and progress in core subject groups (maths, science, English, social studies, Arabic, and Islamic education)
  • School leadership and management
  • Effectiveness of school teaching
  • Student learning skills
  • How the curriculum meets all student needs
  • How the school protects and supports its students

After every inspection, a school gets a DSIB rating that can be:

  • Outstanding
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Average
  • Weak
  • Very Weak

DSIB ratings provide an excellent way of benchmarking the quality of education in a school. Thus, it is a practical criterion for parents to consider when deciding on a private school in Dubai. 

Naturally, you want an outstanding school, or at least a very good school. If you want more options, you can include schools that are rated good but have the potential to be very good.

Action Item: Create a list of Dubai's KHDA outstanding and very good schools. This can be your starter list of schools you will consider.

Tuition Fee 

paying tuition fee

After whittling down your 200-plus options to only the KHDA's highly-rated schools, you can start checking school tuition fees. 

The tuition fee is a make-it or break-it consideration because your financial capacity will dictate which of your options you can and cannot afford. 

Fortunately, a high KHDA or DSIB rating doesn't automatically translate to the highest tuition fees. This is true even in schools that belong to the same network. 

For instance, a GEMS DSIB Outstanding school, GEMS Jumeira Primary School, costs AED 51,511 in year two (equivalent to grade one). Meanwhile, another DSIB Outstanding GEMS school, GEMS Modern Academy, charges lower tuition at AED 40,044.
Then, there's the GEMS Our Own English High School, rated Very Good by KHDA's DSIB for the fifth consecutive year. However, it charges its grade one students a tuition of only AED 8,862.
Action Item: Check the websites of all the schools in your starter list of outstanding and very good schools. Beside each school, write the tuition fee for your child's grade or year. You should also include the school's tuition fee range, which will help you approximate future tuition fees if you choose a particular school.



According to the KHDA, 35% of private school students in Dubai go to a British or U.K. curriculum school. Other popular curriculums include:

  • Indian (26% of the private school population)
  • American or U.S. (16%)
  • International Baccalaureate or IB (6%)
  • U.K./IB (5%)
  • Ministry of Education or MoE (4%)
  • Others (3%)
  • SABIS or U.K./U.S. (2%)

There is no easy way to ascertain which curriculum is the best. The British curriculum, officially the national curriculum for England, is definitely the most popular among private school students in Dubai. However, popularity does not necessarily mean superiority.

Selecting your preferred curriculum will probably boil down to your plans. If you want your child to pursue higher learning overseas, say, in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, or Canada, you definitely want to enrol your child in a school that uses English as its sole language of instruction and prepares the students for university admissions.
For instance, the British curriculum culminates in the following:

  • General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) or International GCSE (IGCSE)
  • Advanced Subsidiary (AS) levels
  • Advanced (A) levels
  • Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) certifications 

These are internationally recognised qualifications that universities may use in assessing university admission applications. 

However, international studies preparation is not exclusive to the U.K. curriculum.

  • The U.S. Curriculum can lead to the Advanced Placement (AP) programme.
  • The IB curriculum helps students get an IB Diploma.
  • The Indian Curriculum culminates in the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ISCE) or Secondary School Examination in grade 10 and the Indian School Certificate (ISC) or All India Senior School Certificate Examination in grade 12. 

Action Item: At this point, you must decide on the curriculum you want for your child. Each one has its own strengths, and choosing a curriculum requires serious deliberation.


location icon

Location matters. You don't really want your child travelling too far to go to school. However, if you’re working remotely, you can move closer to your choice of school. 

Action Item: You can narrow down your options by filtering out schools which are too far from your residence. 


Check Out: How Ezyschooling is Transforming School Admission Proces


Choose Your Private School in Dubai

Evaluating Dubai private schools based on their KHDA rating, tuition fee, curriculum, and location will help you decide on a private school for your child. Ideally, you want an outstanding or a very good school you can afford that offers your preferred curriculum and is located in your neighbourhood.
If you are Muslim and concerned about religious education, you don't have to limit your options to only Islamic schools in Dubai. All schools in Dubai offer Islamic education to their Muslim students.

This article has been reviewed by our panel. The points, views and suggestions put forth in this article have been expressed keeping the best interests of fellow parents in mind. We hope you found the article beneficial.
• dubai schools
• private schooling
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