A Guide for Education in the UAE

Whether you’re looking for schools for your children, or want to expand your skillset through pursuing higher education, the UAE has a wide range of educational institutes for all students.

In this guide, we will be covering the different educational institutes in the UAE, from public and international schools to higher education institutions. Furthermore, we will touch on the ranking systems in the UAE to help you make better decisions when choosing where to study. 

This article aims to guide you through the education system in the UAE in a simple, yet comprehensive way, so let’s dive right in. 

Education in UAE


Public Schools 

Public schools in the UAE teach the national curriculum, and the language of instruction is Arabic, with English being taught as a second language.

Government schools in the UAE offer completely free education to all of the following:

  • UAE nationals
  • UAE passport holders
  • GCC citizens
  • the children of those granted nationality by decisions made by the President or Vice President of the UAE.

Besides, since 2001, ex-pat students have been allowed to attend public schools; however, they are required to pay fees. Despite the fees, public schools are usually more affordable for ex-pats than private schools.

Private Schools

There are hundreds of private schools across the UAE that offer a wide range of international curriculums. The most common curriculums taught at these schools include the British, American, IB, and Indian national curriculums.

In addition, the prices at private schools can vary dramatically, with yearly fees ranging from AED 2,643 to AED 114,128. Fees may also be different at the same school for different grade levels. 

Here’s a look at the average fees for some of the top schools in the UAE:  

SchoolCurriculumAnnual Fees
Dubai British School Emirates HillsBritishAED 49,026 – AED 66,545
GEMS Dubai American AcademyAmericanAED 61,190 – AED 86,260
Emirates Future International Academy (Abu Dhabi)IndianAED 7,800 – AED 14,600 
Dubai International Academy Emirates HillsIBAED 40,900 – AED 72,600 
british schools in uae

If you’d like a more in-depth look at the private schools in a specific city, check out the links below for lists of the top schools across several emirates in the UAE. 



Abu Dhabi

Umm Al Quwain

School Ratings

Several factors come into play when choosing a school, with quality being high on the list. Luckily, there are regulatory authorities that assess private schools to help you make the best decision.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) are two government entities. They oversee the development of education in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.

Moreover, these entities inspect private schools every year or two to assess the quality of the education offered. The inspections include evaluating the quality of teaching, curriculum, and student safety, as well as their ability to cater to the needs of students with special educational needs, among other criteria.

You can check the school directories at KHDA and TAMM, where you can explore the individual profiles of all schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, respectively. Each school profile includes its inspection report, so you can have an in-depth look at the school’s strengths and weaknesses.

Higher Education

Best universities in UAE

Universities in UAE

In recent years, the Ministry of Education in UAE has made significant strides to provide top-quality higher education; accordingly, it’s now home to some of the best universities in the region. 

According to the QS World University Rankings® 2022, the American University of Sharjah, UAE University, and Khalifa University rank within the top 400 universities across the world. 

Furthermore, there are several well-ranked universities with main campuses in other countries that have opened branches in the UAE, such as: 

  • Middlesex University Dubai
  • University of Wollongong Dubai
  • Murdoch University Dubai
  • Rochester Institute of Technology Dubai
  • New York Univerisity in Abu Dhabi
  • Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi 

In addition, the UAE also has several public universities, which UAE citizens can attend for free. The public universities in the country include: 

  • UAE University
  • Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT)
  • Khalifa University
  • Abu Dhabi University
  • Zayed University
  • Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence. 

Here’s a list of the best universities in the UAE:

  1. Khalifa University
  2. United Arab Emirates University 
  3. American University of Sharjah
  4. University of Sharjah
  5. Zayed University

Accreditation of Universities and Colleges in the UAE

Deciding to pursue a degree in higher education can be quite a commitment from both a time and financial standpoint. 

That is why it is important to ensure that the degree you choose is not only of a high calibre but also recognised on an international scale. That is where the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) comes in. 

As a member of the International Network for Accreditation, the commission is responsible for making sure higher education programs adhere to international standards. 

Besides, the CAA also oversees the accreditation of all programs at higher education institutes in the UAE. For a list of the accredited programs offered at universities and colleges in the UAE, you can check the CAA’s website.


Which Curriculum is Used in UAE Schools?

Public schools in the UAE teach the national curriculum, with Arabic being the language of instruction and English is taught as a second language.  Private schools teach a variety of international curricula, including the Indian national curriculum, IB, American and British curricula. 

Is Education in UAE Good?

The UAE has plenty of very high-quality international private schools and nurseries. Additionally, higher education institutes are also among the best in the region, with three UAE universities ranking in the top 500 universities worldwide.

The UAE government recognises the power education has to broaden our horizons and open up new opportunities; consequently, it has invested a lot into improving the quality of education across the country. 

This has led residents in the UAE to have access to plenty of quality educational institutes and has highlighted this country as a hub for quality education in the region.

This Blog is made available for educational purposes only, in addition to providing you with general information and a general understanding of its content, including referenced laws and regulations, and not to provide specific legal advice. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent advice from a licensed professional.