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United Arab Emirates – Education and Schools

The United Arab Emirates is a country located in the Middle East that is known for its modern infrastructure, vibrant economy, and multicultural society. In this article, we will explore the quality of education in the United Arab Emirates, the ages at which education is compulsory, the types of schools available, the syllabus and qualifications offered, typical school hours and holidays, enrollment requirements, competition for enrollment, and options for higher education.

Quality of Education in the United Arab Emirates

The quality of education in the United Arab Emirates has been improving rapidly in recent years, with a focus on providing a modern, innovative education system that prepares students for the challenges of the 21st century. The government has invested heavily in education, with a particular emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects and the use of technology in the classroom.

Compulsory Education in the United Arab Emirates

Education is compulsory in the United Arab Emirates for children between the ages of 6 and 18. This means that all children must attend school for at least 12 years, from primary school to upper secondary school.

Types of Schools in the United Arab Emirates

Primary Schools

Primary schools in the United Arab Emirates are for students between the ages of 6 and 12. The curriculum focuses on basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as subjects such as social studies, natural science, and Arabic language and culture. Primary school is compulsory for all students and is free of charge.

Middle Schools


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Middle schools in the United Arab Emirates are for students between the ages of 12 and 15. The curriculum is more focused on academic subjects, such as mathematics, science, and foreign languages. Students also take courses in social studies, physical education, and the arts.

High Schools

High schools in the United Arab Emirates are divided into several different types of programs, including general academic, vocational, and technical programs. These programs are designed to prepare students for a variety of careers and further education opportunities. High school is not compulsory and is fee-paying.

Syllabus and Qualifications in United Arab Emirates Schools

The curriculum in United Arab Emirates schools varies depending on the level of education. However, there are certain core subjects that are taught across the country, such as mathematics, science, social studies, Arabic language and culture, and Islamic studies. Students are required to take exams at the end of each level of education to receive a qualification.

Qualifications offered by United Arab Emirates schools include the Certificate of Basic Education (Tawjihi), the General Secondary Education Certificate (Al-Thanawiya Al-Amma), and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

School Hours and Holidays in the United Arab Emirates

School hours in the United Arab Emirates vary depending on the level of education. Primary schools typically start at 8 am and finish at 1 pm, while middle schools and high schools start at 7:30 am and finish at 2:30 pm.

The academic year in the United Arab Emirates starts in early September and ends in late June of the following year. There are two semesters, with a two-week break in December and a one-week break in April. In addition to these breaks, there are also national and religious holidays throughout the year.

Enrollment Requirements and Competition

To enroll in a school in the United Arab Emirates, students must provide documentation such as a birth certificate, proof of residency, and their academic records from their previous school. For international students, a passport and visa may also be required. In addition, students may need to take an entrance exam to be admitted to certain high school programs.

Competition for enrollment in United Arab Emirates schools can vary depending on the location and the level of education. In some areas, there may be more demand for certain schools or programs, which can make enrollment more competitive.

International Schools in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates is home to a large number of international schools that cater to the diverse expatriate population in the country. These schools offer a range of curricula, including British, American, International Baccalaureate, and others. Some popular international schools in the United Arab Emirates include:

Higher Education in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has made significant strides in developing its higher education system in recent years. The country is home to a number of world-class universities, including the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), the American University of Sharjah (AUS), and the Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

In addition to these universities, there are also a number of vocational and technical colleges that offer training in a range of fields, including engineering, business, and healthcare.

Education in the United Arab Emirates is compulsory for 12 years, from primary school to upper secondary school. The country has a diverse education system that includes public and private schools, as well as international schools that cater to the expatriate population. The curriculum focuses on basic skills and academic subjects, with an emphasis on STEM subjects and the use of technology in the classroom. Higher education in the United Arab Emirates has also been expanding rapidly in recent years, with a range of world-class universities and vocational colleges offering a variety of programs and training opportunities.


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