Delhi Private School Dubai / DPS Dubai, The Gardens, Jebel Ali – The 2023 Review Exclusive
“In the business of education, you must focus on quality. Schools must not be run for profits, and whatever you earn from the school must be invested in increasing the salaries of teachers.
I believe in providing value education and holistic development of the child at an affordable cost.
I can tell you that if I were to double my fees, I wouldn’t lose a single student because that is the kind of standard we have set.”
Dinesh C. Kothari, Pro-Vice Chairman, Delhi Private School – Dubai (KT)
“The USP of the school is our deliberate focus on encouraging students to have a moral compass: to have a sensibility greater than themselves and to have a philanthropic spirit.
We indoctrinate our students to cultivate the values taught by Mahatma Gandhi: to take a stand against injustice and [to recognise that] every person has the power to make a difference.”
Rashmi Nandkeolyar, Principal, Delhi Private School – Dubai
Finally, in its eighth year, Delhi Private School – Dubai (DPSD), stabilised a KHDA “Very Good with Outstanding Features” rating for the (very high) quality of its provision. As of 2023 it has now, impressively, secured a KHDA ranking of “Very Good with Outstanding Features” provision for eight consecutive years across 4 inspections, the last in 2018-19.
This accolade is impressive and hard won. It means that the school is operating significantly above the already demanding Good standard expected by the KHDA in all Dubai schools. It also finally puts to rest the critique that the school had been outshone by its Sharjah counterpart.
As it stands, Delhi Private School Dubai now ranks in the top 5 of all Indian CBSE schools in Dubai.
In this sector, there is only one KHDA Outstanding school in Dubai offering an Indian curriculum, the other, The Indian High School, having lost its outstanding school status in 2017/18 after 6 years of Outstanding School status:
- GEMS Modern Academy offering the CISCE curriculum, reviewed here
GEMS Modern is, however, a very different school, currently operating a blended Indian curriculum education with the IB Diploma and its Indian curriculum is based on the CISCE.
As it stands then, Delhi Private School Dubai ranks in the very top tier of available CBSE curriculum schools in Dubai.
There are only 7 other Indian curriculum schools with this creditable “Very Good with Outstanding Features” ranking from the KHDA of which our top recommendations, with DPS Dubai, are:
- The Indian High School, reviewed here
- GEMS Our Own English High School, reviewed here
- (GEMS) The Millennium School, reviewed here
- GEMS New Millennium School, reviewed here
Other alternatives include:
- JSS International School (CISCE)
- JSS Private School (CBSE)
- Ambassador School (CISCE)
The competition at the top of this sector is today fierce. The increase in the number of ranked “Very Good Schools with Outstanding Features” over the last four years has quadrupled. To stand out in this sector, as DPS Dubai does, is no small achievement.
In some ways you would be forgiven, on first impressions, however, in wondering if there had been some mistake with the ranking.
Delhi Private School is not a ‘bells and whistles’ school. Do not expect shiny steel and glass or anywhere near Tier 1 facilities. DPSD is, in stark contrast to what you might expect of a school operating at this level, resolutely a cosmetically relatively simple school. But what matters in education is substance, not bells and whistles – and this is a school that is committed to, and focused on, depth and delivering an outstanding level of education to set up children for productive successful lives on graduation, rather than creating an environment filled with cushions, bean bags, whimsy and shiny bells.
Since our last review, too, so much has changed. We had gently critiqued the school’s outward communication (so important to celebrate the successes of its students). Today that has ben fully addressed – with an impressive community focused web site – and an outstanding presence on Social Media – including on Facebook where DPS Dubai are celebrated very inspirationally.
So too, this is a school which, under the caring eyes of Dinesh Kothari, Owner and Managing Director of DPS, invests in improving and enhancing school provision each year – and significantly. This shows itself in ongoing CPD for teaching faculty (the school strongly invests in empowering its teachers and broadening their skill base) to capital investment in infrastructure ranging from new facilities for yoga to very significantly improved investment across Labs and Sport facility provision in particular.
To understand DPS Dubai, it is important to understand context.
There are 4 Delhi Private Schools in the UAE under the auspices of Mr Kothari:
- Delhi Private School Sharjah, reviewed here.
- New Delhi Private School Sharjah – here.
- Delhi Private School Dubai, the subject of this review.
- Delhi Private School Ras Al Khaima – here.
There is a fifth, and outstanding, founding not-for-profit school, Dubai Public School Jodhpur based in India. More here.
All DPS schools offer the CBSE curriculum. This is important – many parents, and the founder, Mr Kothari, believe passionately in the CBSE. This is a curriculum with its root in English education, but modified to celebrate and inspire children with the richness of Indian culture and heritage. For many parents this love of India, one at the core of CBSE ethics, is not up for discussion – it’s part and parcel of what it means to grow up as an Indian global citizen. Mr Kothari believes that messing around with it by blending it with other curricular for example, degrades this – and renders alternatives little more than “supermarkets.” This passion for the CBSE and its ability to transform the life chances of Indian children and students is shared by all DPS teachers – and it shows.
[Worth noting as a matter of historical record that there was a third school. This was the short-lived Delhi Private School Academy – Academic City which has now closed. Our historic review of the school can be found here. Tellingly this was planned as a CISCSE curriculum school – and the feeling was that it just did not work for its children.]
Interestingly, at the time of our last research, the Delhi Public Schools Group comprised around 100 schools spread across India, the UAE, Nepal and Singapore. The Group advertised more than 200 schools worldwide, presumably with many in planning and development. Since 2017, however, none of the Dubai schools have been associated with the India-based Delhi Public Schools organisation. This was decided on the basis that the costs of being part of the umbrella group amounted to a not insignificant minimum 1% of the fees paid by Dubai parents – expenditure that would be better spent here on students at the DPS schools.
So what sets the school apart?
First, fees. This school provides very good value for money, given the attainment and progress of its students. Fees run between 10,298 AED and 14,416 AED. It’s not the best value school in the Emirates – that accolade lies with the Indian High School with a quite remarkable fee structure that sees Grade XII fees reaching only 10,465 AED per annum. But, make no mistake, the value proposition at Delhi Private School Dubai is very high – because the reinvestment back into the school each year is equally high.
|GRADE||*TOTAL PAYABLE TERM 1 (Including CLP)||TUITION FEE TERM I (to be paid by April each year)||TUITION FEE TERM II (to be paid by September each year)||TUITION FEE TERM III (to be paid by December each year)||ANNUAL TUITION FEE|
|KG I – KG II||4,470||4,120||3,089||3,089||10,298|
|GRADE I – GRADE IV||4,888||4,538||3,404||3,404||11,346|
|GRADE V – GRADE VIII||5,269||4,919||3,690||3,690||12,299|
|GRADE IX – GRADE X||5,698||5,348||4,010||4,010||13,368|
|GRADE XI – GRADE XII||6,116||5,766||4,325||4,325||14,416|
Fee levels are managed in relationship with the needs of parents. In five years, and notwithstanding its high ranking from the KHDA, fee increases have been kept to the bare minimum to protect its families.
Second, inclusion. This is a genuinely inclusive school. At later phases this is moderated – the school has to, understandably, ensure that new children joining the school have the basic level of education required for Grade X and Grade XII exams – but, impressively, and unambiguously, this school welcomes all children regardless of ability, language skills or SEND at earlier phases. Hugely creditable.
Third, again, whilst not the best in this sector, the teacher to student ratio is excellent running at a maximum of 1:13.
Fourth, not-for-profit status. The school is a for-profit school – but to all intents and purposes run as a not-for-profit status. As above, significant revenue is re-invested back into the school each year. This is not a school run for far off shareholders or private equity groups looking for a cash grab. Far from it – this is a school run with the interests of children at its heart, by a family deeply invested in their future and that of the UAE. Fees are set at a carefully balanced level to ensure that the school can continue to reinvest back into improvements each year – something imperative given the pace of technological and industry changes and resulting modifications to the curriculum and expectations of parents. Mr Kothari is explicit that profit is not the motivation for establishing his schools. Rather, and creditably, the driver is providing a very high quality, but affordable, education for children and families. Very simply, Mr Kothari does not want any Indian child in Dubai to be left behind – and his schools are the mechanism he uses to make his contribution to this ambition.
Fifth, examination performance. This is a school that does achieve academically for its children. Even in 2016 it secured a class average of 9 points at Grade X 78% of children sat for Board Examinations. At Grade XII 143 children sat for the examination. Of those that entered, 65% (93 students) entered in the Science Stream, 31% (45 students) in the Commerce Stream and 3% (5 students) for the Humanities Stream. 100% of those students entered for the Grade XII examinations secured a First Division pass. The grade aggregate at Grade XII was 84.6. These results have improved incrementally each year since.
2022 comparative data follows:
Class X CBSE Board Examinations Results 2007 – 2022
Class XII CBSE Board Examinations Results 2007 – 2022
Subject breadth, academic opportunity and meeting the needs of students
One of the areas we believe that parents should look for in any school at Grade XII is provision for Humanities, even if, as here, there is only a minority of children who opt for the stream. Many schools remove provision for Humanities altogether in order to restrict subject choice and reduce costs. DPSD is to be commended for its ongoing provision for Humanity subjects so that it can meet the broadest possible needs, potential and talent of individual children. As a whole, curriculum provision and subject choice at the school, particularly for Grade XII is outstanding.
There are five different subject combinations offered within the Science Stream alone, for example, so that children do not have to forego subjects simply to meet timetabling demands of the school. In practice this means that children can study some more traditional commerce or humanity subjects (Economics, Marketing Psychology, Computer Science) with traditional core Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology). Humanity subject choice is outstanding including Sociology, History and Political Science.
Prospective parents should note that significant changes took place to Grade X accreditation from 2017-18 with assessment based in the majority on external examination only. Interestingly, this mirrors an almost identical change to UK GCSE examinations which are now be graded entirely by examination. Of course, since then, the Covid-19 transformed the landscape, so the ongoing impacts of changes to the CBSE are still be accurately benchmarked.
Facilities at the school are well maintained and of a good breadth and standard. For the fee levels we rank them outstanding.
These include two libraries by phase; Independent Science Laboratories for Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Mathematics Lab; ICT Labs; specialised early years learning “Activity Rooms”; external grassed sports fields for outdoor games including cricket; volleyball, basketball and tennis courts; gymnasium; school clinic; and pool. The provision of turfed outdoor playing fields however is a strength of sports provision. We like the openness of the school in sharing facilities with its broader community. On this note – this is the founding hub school for The Gardens. In fact, it is at least arguable that without its pioneering investment in this lovely part of Dubai, one inspired by the English Garden City movement, The Gardens would not exist as the community it is today. More than half its role are drawn entirely from The Gardens community.
Facilities in full follow:
- Facility provision, in full, includes:
- 7.5 acre campus
- Hub School for The Gardens Community
- Multiple Clinics to meet healthcare needs/welfare of children
- Multiple Canteens to provide lunches by year/phase
- Book and Uniform Store
- Prayer Rooms
- Dedicated Auditorium
- Conference Room
- Dance Rooms
- Music Rooms
- Fine Art Rooms and exhibition spaces
- Football Field
- Athletic Track
- Cricket Field and Nets
- Multiple Tennis Courts
- Swimming Pool
- Basketball Court
Culture and fitness
- Yoga Studio
- Fitness Centre/gymnasium
- Zen Zone
- Story Corners
- Kinder Learning Centre
- Multiple shaded Play Areas
- Multiple shaded internal and outdoor Activity Areas
- Organic Farm
- Smart Classrooms
- Multiple Computer Labs by phase and specialism
- Multiple STEAM and Robotics Labs by phase and specialism
- Multiple Science Labs by phase and specialism
- Biology Lab
- Multiple Libraries
- Language Labs
- Islamic Education Rooms
- Arabic Resource Room
Career Centre to advise students on post graduate opportunities, industry links and advise on subjects choices
Children of Determination
- Inclusion focus: elevator and ramps for children of determination that require it
- Transport Facility
- Special Education Centre
ECA provision is good, including a spectrum of Club provision across the Performing Arts; Model United Nations; Survivor Club, Music (Western and Indian), Art, Yoga, Environmental and Green initiatives, Sport, Mathematics, Photography and Debating. Charitable ECAs and initiatives are a stand-out feature of the school. The school has swiftly restored its investment in this area after the restrictions of Covid. Impressive.
The features which are drawn out for particular praise by the KHDA include:
- The richness of each child’s appreciation of both Indian culture and its broader global context
- Outstanding curriculum breadth
- The school’s genuine commitment to inclusion and its broad-based culture of care
- Outstanding whole child development
- Tier 1 governance, (ambitious) leadership and community/parental engagement
- Outstanding levels of school attendance and punctuality
Areas in which the school can improve are identified in the provision for weaker students and those who are most talented on the SEND spectrum; effective leverage of existing investment in facilities, teaching materials (now significantly addressed since the inspection); and Arabic subjects/the teaching of Arabic as an Additional Language (AAL) (a challenge for all non-local schools regardless of curricular)
Feedback from Edstatica is very good with some minor parental concerns with the cost of bus transportation (another general problem across schools and one not helped by inflationary pressures on petrol). Communication with parents about the individual achievement and progress of their children is of a very good standard and parents are represented in governance.
School Video Prospectus
Bottom line? The SchoolsCompared Verdict 2023.
Firstly, nothing should be taken away from the achievement of Delhi Private School – Dubai. This is a school that has been a consistently KHDA “Good” school for some 6 years before now stabilising its “Very Good with Outstanding features” school rating for its third consecutive year. Improvements since our last review have transformed the school. This is now an outwardly facing school, with significant evidence of strong new investment in people and capital – and profoundly inspirational links with its community.
The value proposition is very high and children are educated to a very good standard.
School Leadership is passionate, high calibre and evidently committed to leaving no child behind. Feedback from parents that we have received on on Rashmi Nandkeolyar, Principal and Director of DPS Dubai, has been unambiguously positive with a significant number of responses describing Mrs Nandkeolyar as “inspirational.” She is known for her strong focus on international learning and context in learning at DPS Dubai, this to build whole child development and soft skills, together with a recognition of the importance of formative assessment to drive academic learning.
We would like to see the following:
First, increased strategic engagement with parents and an open five to ten-year plan for the future of the school in which parents are actively engaged.
Second, we also think there is room to invest further in specialist provision, particularly in technology Labs better related directly to industry, the Arts and sport– and that investment needs to be backed up by leveraging that investment so it does not simply become a label for an under-used resource.
One very telling critique of the KHDA is that there is a temptation for teachers to see success in terms of the volume rather than understanding of knowledge received/experienced by children. This goes to the heart of what distinguishes the highest performing schools – they are able to match the pace and focus of a curriculum to the needs, skills and potential of children at different phases of their development. The alternative is to risk leaving children behind. It may well be that the only way to address this, within such an inclusive school, is to further increase investment in teaching staff, and at the least teaching support. One development in education, namely flip learning, might well be a mechanism the school could use to address this.
These points aside, this is really a very, very good school and one certainly worth shortlisting. It is just that the school is operating in a hugely competitive space in which expectations from parents are (rightfully) much higher and growing each year.
The puzzle pieces are not easy: the fees are extremely low, the school is large – and growing – and there are all the inevitable pressures on space. Investment is needed to not stand still (or go backwards) – something, impressively, the school is providing.
The challenges are enormous if this school is to secure Outstanding school status. We think it could do it – but there is some way to go in terms of investment and the culture of teaching.
On its own terms however, and judged relative its fees, this is an absolutely wonderful school, operating at the top levels of CBSE provision in the UAE, with deeply committed owners and school leadership. Children adore the school and parents are hugely supportive. Investment is targeted and powerful. The curriculum has rare breadth. Value are richly taught and understood. There is deeply felt pride in Indian culture – and this is matched with a respect for and love of Arabic context. Children are inquisitive. Teachers are committed to the school and resourceful. There is a strong culture of CPD. The package is, in summary, inspirational and impressive.
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Very Good with Outstanding features
(1) Delhi Public School Society - not-for-profit
YEAR 1: 11,116
YEAR 2: 11,116
YEAR 3: 11,116
YEAR 4: 11,116
YEAR 5: 12,050
YEAR 6: 12,050
YEAR 7: 12,050
YEAR 8: 12,050
YEAR 9: 13,097
YEAR 10: 13,097
YEAR 11: 14,124
YEAR 12: 14,124
YEAR 13: NA
Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi
Fully inclusive to secondary when selective
(1) School does not discriminate on grounds of race, nationality, sex, language, academic ability or gender
(2) School welcomes applications from all children including those identified with Special Educational Needs and Abilities
(3) School welcomes applications from children who are identified as Gifted and Talented (G&T) including those gifted academically, in Sport or the Performing Arts
(4) "Admission to Grade XI is at the discretion of the Principal, and dependent on the child's performance at the last annual examination and as per CBSE rules."
(5) Where demands exceeds the availability of places, priority is afforded to children who live locally, siblings and the children of teachers at the school.
(6) Testing is carried out only to determine the most suitable class/grade year for each child. Testing may be carried out in English, Science and Mathematics.
Class sizes are capped at 25 children at KG phases and 30 children between Grade 1 to Grade 12
The Gardens, Jebel Ali, Dubai
Indian (largest nationality)
Mr. Mohammad Abdalla Ahmed Al Khayyal
Mr. Ali Mohamed Al Khayyal
+971 (0) 4 882 1848
• KHDA Very Good (with Outstanding features) school status
• Genuine commitment to inclusion
• Exceptional – and outstanding - breadth of subject provision, particularly for Grade XII
• Reputation of parent Society
• Whole child development of children
• Outstanding academics
• Very high value proposition
• Passionate, deeply committed, conviction-led school ownership through Dinesh Kothari and his mission to deliver an outstanding education for all children.
• Inevitable challenges with Arabic subjects, one face by all non-local schools
• Demands on annual investment are high to keep up with a hugely competitive sector and the needs of children
• Constraints on land for expansion
My son had viva for Grade 5 admission for the academic year 2021-2022. It was such a bad experience. The teacher was extremely harsh, My son is a topper in his class in a CBSE school and is excellent in mathematics, but teacher made my son so nervous. She was treating my son as if he is a computer, talking so fast that even I was not able to listen the numbers properly. And while my son was solving the given questions, she was constantly pressurizing him saying what are you doing? You have to be quick… My son is a really hard working and kind boy, he never says no to studies and has competed at national level championships, but he cried after his viva. It was really heartbreaking…
Was he selected? My daughter is having VIVA NEXT WEEK. Would like to have some inputs from you on preparation