Moving To Dubai With Children? Take A Look At Our Guide To School Fees

Dubai is often described as a place of superlatives. This melting pot of cultures has gained a lot of popularity as an expat destination in the last few decades. Foreigners from all across the globe are moving to this fast-developing emirate with their families as there is so much to see and do.

The UAE has been attracting students of all ages from various countries, primarily because its education system is among the best in the world.Public schooling is available (only to the locals) but not preferred even though it is free, as the medium of education here is Arabic, with English being the second language.

Fortunately, this country has the most privatized education systems, along with the highest number of English international schools, compared to any other place in the world. The residents – locals as well as expats – can therefore choose from a wide variety of private and international schools, as per their preference.

The private schools often follow one or more of 13 international curricula, the most popular ones being British, American, International Baccalaureate (IB), French, and Indian. In fact, because of its high demand, almost 50% of the schools in Dubai offer the British curriculum. Facilities available at most of the schools include interactive whiteboards in all classrooms, wireless internet, an information center, a recreation area, an extensive library, science labs, photography labs, music rooms, dance studios, drama studios, art rooms, an auditorium, a playground, swimming pools, and a skating area, to name a few. Sports is given a lot of importance in many of the schools too.

Since the public schooling options are relatively limited, proper regulation of private schools is essential, in order to ensure that all children receive good quality education. At the same time, it is also important for the government to make sure that all the schools comply with the relevant laws and regulations. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) works with private school investors and operators across the Emirates to maintain and further improve the quality of education. It also safeguards the interest of school students as well as their parents. KHDA publishes an annual report rating schools on a scale: Outstanding, Good, Acceptable and Unacceptable, based on certain criteria. Moreover, the fee structure across all private educational institutes is regulated by this entity.

Private and international education come at a high price in almost every country. While some expats believe that these schools in Dubai are more reasonable than their Western counterparts, others feel the opposite. This is not surprising, as the amount paid by a student could be anywhere between AED 8,000 (US$ 2,180; £ 1,490; € 1,960) and AED 95,000 (US$ 26,135; £ 17,874; € 23,512) per annum. There are numerous options to choose from, and it is usually possible for parents to find a good school within their budget. Of course, the teaching approach followed in one institution may be completely different from another, and the fee structure is likely to depend on several factors, such as the curriculum, grade, affiliations, location, staff, teaching methodology, infrastructure, amenities, extracurricular activities, reputation, and so on. Read on to learn about some of the best schools in Dubai (according to the KHDA Report) and their fee structures.

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Dubai College

Established in 1978, this co-ed school follows the British Curriculum and is open to children aged 11 to 18. It has gained a good reputation over the last three decades. Their charges are approximately as follows:

– Grade 7 to Grade 11: AED 71,839 (US$ 19,557; £ 13,375; € 17,595)
– Grade 12 & Grade 13: AED 81,348 (US$ 22,146; £ 15,146; € 19,924)

To find out more about Dubai College, log on to their website.

Dubai International Academy

Since September 10 1985, this co-ed school has been one of the first and best of its kind. It offers the Geneva-Based International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. It is open to children aged between 3 and 18. Their fees are:

– Kindergarten 1 & 2: AED 34,500 (US$ 9,392; £ 6,423; € 8,450) & AED 38,900 (US$ 10,590; £ 7,242; € 9,527)
– Grade 1: AED 39,267 (US$ 10,690; £ 7,311; € 9,617)
– Grade 2 to Grade 6: AED 44,467 (US$ 12,105; £ 8,279; € 10,891)
– Grade 7 to Grade 9: AED 50,021 (US$ 13,618; £ 9,313; € 12,251)
– Grade 10 & Grade 11: AED 55,587 (US$ 15,133; £ 10,349; € 13,614)
– Grade 12 & Grade 13: AED 61,120 (US$ 16,639; £ 11,379; € 14,969)

For more information on Dubai International Academy, go to www.diadubai.com.

Gems Jumeirah Primary School

Founded in the year 1996, this co-ed institute is definitely one of the most sought-after ones in its area. Even though this primary school (which follows the British curriculum) is a part of one of the most prestigious educational groups, the fee structure isn’t as high as some of the others:

– Kindergarten 1: AED 33,916 (US$ 9,233; £ 6,315; € 8,306)
– Kindergarten 2 to Grade 6: AED 40,674 (US$ 11,073; £ 7,573; € 9,962)

Log on to Gems Jumeirah Primary School’s website for more details.

Gems Modern Academy

Opened on October 18, 1986, this co-ed school is affiliated to the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) board and offers the Indian curriculum. It is open to students of all ages, from 3 to 18. The fee structure is as follows:

– Kindergarten 1 & 2: AED 29,348 (US$ 7,989; £ 5,464; € 7,188)
– Grade 1 to Grade 3: AED 33,236 (US$ 9,048; £ 6,188; € 8,140)
– Grade 4: AED 35,044 (US$ 9,540; £ 6,524; € 8,583)
– Grade 5 to Grade 8: AED 36,965 (US$ 10,063; £ 6,882; € 9,053)
– Grade 9 & Grade 10: AED 39,400 (US$ 10,726; £ 7,335; € 9,650)
– Grade 11 & Grade 12: AED 43,513 (US$ 11,846; £ 8,101; € 10,657)

Additional details about this school are available on their website.

Gems Royal School Dubai

In September of 2005, this co-ed primary school opened its doors to students aged between 2 and 11. It is popular for being the only institute in its area, offering the British curriculum, taught by British or British-experienced teachers. Given below is its fee structure:

– Kindergarten 1: AED 32,259 (US$ 8,782; £ 6,006; € 7,901)
– Kindergarten 2 to Grade 6: AED 40,674 (US$ 11,073; £ 7,573; € 9,962)

More information on The Gems Royal School Dubai can be accessed on their website.

Gems Wellington International School

This co-ed school, which follows the British curriculum, is known for its exceptionally high standard of teaching. Since 2009, it has been receiving an “Outstanding” rating by the KHDA. Not to be confused with Gems Wellington Academy and Gems Wellington Primary School, this institute provides education for children aged 3 to 18. Their fee structure is as follows:

– Kindergarten 1: AED 36,470 (US$ 9,928; £ 6,790; € 8,932)
– Kindergarten 2 to Grade 6: AED 45,936 (US$ 12,505; £ 8,552; € 11,250)
– Grade 7 to Grade 9: AED 63,337 (US$ 17,243; £ 11,792; € 15,512)
– Grade 10 & Grade 11: AED 71,271 (US$ 19,403; £ 13,269; € 17,456)
– Grade 12 & Grade 13: AED 79,343 (US$ 21,600; £ 14,772; € 19,433)

To know more about Gems Wellington International School, click here.

Jumeirah College

Also a part of the Gems group, Jumeirah College (founded in 1999) is open to boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 18. This secondary school offers the British curriculum and boasts more than 1,000 students of at least 60 different nationalities. Their fee structure is described below:

– Grade 7 to Grade 9: AED 60,579 (US$ 16,492; £ 11,279; € 14,837)
– Grade 10 & Grade 11: AED 68,151 (US$ 18,553; £ 12,688; € 16,691)
– Grade 12 & Grade 13: AED 75,724 (US$ 20,615; £ 14,099; € 18,546)

For more information on Jumeirah College, log on to its website.

Jumeirah English Speaking School

More commonly known as JESS, this non-profit co-ed school opened up in 1975. This school, which offers the British curriculum, has about 700 pupils (aged 3 to 11) and has received an “Outstanding” rating from the KHDA on numerous occasions. Its fee structure is as follows:

– Kindergarten 1: AED 34,440 (US$ 9,376; £ 6,412; € 8,435)
– Kindergarten 2 to Grade 6: AED 4,2561 (US$ 11,587; £ 7,924; € 10,424)

The fee structure for the primary grade are almost identical all the JESS entities. Log on to Jumeirah English Speaking School’s website for more details.

King’s School Dubai

For more than six years now, King’s School Dubai has been rated “Outstanding” by the KHDA. This school offers the British curriculum to children aged 3 to 13. Their fee structure is given below:

– Kindergarten 1 & 2: AED 36,203 (US$ 9,856; £ 6,740; € 8,867)
– Grade 1 to Grade 4: AED 45,651 (US$ 12,428; £ 8,499; € 11,181)
– Grade 5 & Grade 6: AED 55,096 (US$ 14,999; £ 10,258; € 13,494)
– Grade 7 & Grade 8: AED 58,130 (US$ 15,825; £ 10,823; € 14,237)

Additional details about King’s School Dubai and other affiliated schools can be found on their website.

Lycée Français International Georges Pompidou

Based in Dubai and Sharjah (Primary and High Schools), these co-ed schools are a part of the French Schools abroad network, AEFE Agency for French Teaching Abroad. This group has been approved by the French Ministry of National Education. What separates this international entity from the others in Dubai is that the main language for instruction and communication is French. It is open to kids aged 3 to 18. The fee structure is as follows:

– Kindergarten 1 & 2: AED 26,062 (US$ 7,095; £ 4,852; € 6,383)
– Grade 1 to Grade 5: AED 31,401 (US$ 8,548; £ 5,846; € 7,690)
– Grade 6 to Grade 9: AED 39,715 (US$ 10,812; £ 7,394; € 9,727)
– Grade 10 to Grade 12: AED 43,122 (US$ 11,739; £ 8,028; € 10,561)

To know more about the Lycée Français group of schools, take a look at their website.

Repton School

Though it was founded in Dubai only in 2009, the Repton School in Dubai has ties to the 450-year-old Repton Boarding School in the UK. Within a short span of time, it made its mark as one of the best British schools in the Emirate. This coed school is open to children between the ages of 2 and 18. The fee structure is as follows:

– Kindergarten 1 & 2: AED 47,599 (US$ 12,958; £ 8,862; € 11,658)
– Grade 1 & Grade 2: AED 49,839 (US$ 13,568; £ 9,279; € 12,206)
– Grade 3: AED 54,319 (US$ 14,788; £ 10,113; € 13,304)
– Grade 4: AED 55,999 (US$ 15,245; £ 10,426; € 13,715)
– Grade 5 & Grade 6: AED 60,479 (US$ 16,465; £ 11,260; € 14,812)
– Grade 7 to Grade 11: Between AED 72,798 (US$ 19,818; £ 13,554; € 17,830) & AED 89,598 (US$ 24,392; £ 16,682; € 21,944)
– Grade 12 & Grade 13: AED 95,199 (US$ 25,917; £ 17,725; € 23316)

Other Fees

There is an application fee charged by almost all schools at the time of enrolment. Since this amount could go up to thousands of Dirhams, it discourages parents from applying to too many schools at once.

Any school can charge up to 30% of the student’s tuition fee as an admission charge to confirm that selected students will definitely get enrolled. Some of them also charge 10% as a re-registration deposit to ensure the return of existing students for the new academic year.

This amount does get deducted from the child’s term fee. The admission fee isn’t refunded if a student decides to not join or chooses to not return in the next academic year. For certain special cases, schools may have an individual refund policy, which has to adhere to the KHDA guidelines.

Do note that these amounts only include the tuition fee. Money spent on books, uniforms, bus fare, field trips, stationery, musical instruments and so on are additional expenses, which could add up to thousands of Dirhams each year.

Like in any other country, education is compulsory for children of all ages. However, expats who do not want to pay the expensive fees of private schools may want to consider home-schooling as an option.

Sources: [1], [2]


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