The UAE attaches great importance to education, which dates back to historical times. Education in the UAE has evolved from the simple traditional mode and is in line with international standards.
This evolution in education began on December 2, 1971 when the federation of the UAE was announced and federal ministries were set up including the Ministry of Education, which was entrusted with the task of supervising education at a national level. This led to the growth of public (government) schools, which became equipped with the latest educational techniques. Additionally, educational missions were brought from Arab countries to contribute to developing modern education, resulting in an educational boom that led to an increase in the number of educated citizens and to the eradication of illiteracy.
Dubai is confidently set to create a knowledge-based economy. In confirmation of this, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation was set up in May 2007, with a personal endowment of $10 billion by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which was set up in 2006, is tasked with upgrading Dubai’s educational knowledge and human development segments according to the highest international standards and leading Dubai to a knowledge-based economy.
Ministry of Education Strategy 2010-2020
Driven by its commitment to continuously provide the best in class student education to its future generations , the UAE Ministry of Education has developed a student centric 2010 – 2020 strategy, which follows months of in-depth studies, global best-in-class practices’ review and public consultations.
Directory of education segments in Dubai
KHDA supervises all Dubai schools, institutes, vocational institutions, adult and centres for people with disabilities, day care centres and government and private universities. On its homepage, KHDA has a directory of all educational institutions which includes locations, contact details and tuition fees.
Enrolment at public and private schools/kindergartens
While all students can enrol at private schools, only UAE nationals, holders of UAE passports, GCC citizens and the children of holders of decrees issued by UAE President or Vice President are eligible for public schools. Enrolment of expatriate students at public schools in Dubai and the other emirates is subject to special conditions. More details in this connection can be viewed in the list of educational councils and zones in each emirate.
Regulations and Compliance (New Licences)
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) assumes the responsibility to license all education, human development and training institutions and service providers in the Emirate of Dubai. The necessary documents that detail the licensing procedure are uploaded here for your perusal. KHDA has also introduced new eServices for schools, training institutes and early learning centres. The new eServices are for issuance of new permits, renewal of permits and amendment of permits. This will help eliminate the need for customers to visit KHDA for such requests.
The Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) at the KHDA is tasked with establishing and inspecting education quality standards. The DSIB provides school inspection reports and other inspection services that give a comprehensive and reliable assessment of educational standards and performance of every school in Dubai, both public and private.
It is because every child has diverse desires and needs, a family should spend part of its time in getting to know such desires and needs in order to be able to properly select the appropriate school for its child. The Publications and Reports on the KHDA website provide parents in Dubai with detailed information on the quality of the educational process at schools that helps them select the right school.
In April 2009, the DSIB published the first Initial Quality Inspections Handbook, which was followed by the second DSIB Inspection Handbook 2009-2010. In 2010, KHDA released the DSIB Annual Report 2010, which includes overall education statistics and findings from Emirati, Western, Indian and Pakistani schools in Dubai.
In 2011, KHDA released the 2010-2011 School Inspection Reports. Each school has been rated as either outstanding, good, acceptable or unsatisfactory.
It is vital for parents to view these reports as they clearly show the performance of students and the high-quality education and care offered by schools in addition to the efficiency of management and leadership inside schools. As for the distinguished public and private schools, the government has been keen on giving them encouraging awards. Click here to view the educational awards given to the UAE education sector.
Knowledge Village in Dubai provides an excellent environment for training and learning support activities. It has attracted many world-reputed universities and training institutes.
In parallel, Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) is the world's only free zone dedicated to higher education. Spread across an area of approximately 20 million square feet, the DIAC campus provides an environment of vitality and inspiration for students and faculty. DIAC partners also enjoy special privileges like 100% foreign ownership, no taxes and 100% repatriation of profits, easy visa issuance procedures for students, faculty and staff. There are currently international universities of higher learning in both Dubai Knowledge Village and DIAC from diverse regions including USA, UK, Australia, India, Pakistan, Iran, France, Russia, Belgium and Canada catering to over 12,000 students. These institutions offer programmes that range in duration from one year to four years. Major academic programmes on offer include; engineering, computer science, finance, media, education, fashion and design, biotechnology, environmental studies, quality management and business management programmes.
The KHDA provides a list of all Dubai-accredited government and private universities, while the Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) has licensed 69 universities and colleges to operate in the UAE.
Higher and business education has seen greater collaboration between western and Dubai based entities. Some of the top universities in Dubai offering degrees and courses include Harvard Medical School Dubai Center, London Business School, University of Strathclyde, Manchester Business School, Duke's Fuqua School of Business and Cass Business School, among others.
Accreditation of higher degrees
The Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research applies strict academic criteria for accrediting university degrees – Bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees – received from official authorities. It is preferred to view a set of Instructions and Requirements before submitting an accreditation application, to which the required documents for accreditation of degrees should be attached.
The Academic Degree Accreditation Department is tasked with examining the academic degrees awarded by higher education institutions outside the UAE for accreditation through an academic degree accreditation request available on the ministry’s website.
eLearning has been given a significant boost through accredited bachelor and master's courses from Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, while the Masters in Public Administration from Dubai School of Government prepares students for high-level positions in government.
Education in the UAE is generally based on an educational system which conforms to the world’s best educational standards. In order to enhance the concept of transparency, however, those who have complaints/suggestions/inquiries can contact the Ministry of Education.