Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi Campus, Baniyas East
Updated December 2016
The Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi [GIISAD] campus is the first school opened by the Singapore-based not-for-profit Global Schools Foundation [GSF] in the Emirate. Extraordinarily, the school was completely built in just 140 days – impressive even by UAE standards.
Its actual opening has not been without difficulty, however, delayed by ADEC for 6 months from its planned opening on 1st April 2015. The reasons for the delay remain undisclosed, but its eventual opening on 6th September 2015 was restricted to KG1 and KG2 only and came with commitments from the school not to exceed the capacities of individual classrooms and phases.
The school terminated the employment of staff originally employed given the delay, although today in February 2016 started re-advertising for teachers to begin further phased openings.
It is the second school opening by GSF in the UAE, its first school (the Global Indian International School, Dubai) was closed and taken over by its franchise partner as the Ambassador School after a dispute.
GSF, established in 2002, run an international network of more than 20 campuses in 7 countries including in Singapore (its base), Malaysia, India, Japan and now the UAE. It has expertise in multiple curriculum including the International Baccalaureate Diploma, (I)GCSE, Central Board of Secondary Education [CBSE] and Montessori plus for FS/KG Grades.
Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi campus on opening is delivering its proprietary KG phase Global Montessori Plus programme, which will lead eventually to CBSE for which an application for accreditation was submitted in December 2016.
The school includes video-conference and e-learning facilities to build linkages with other campuses across the GIIS network.
GSF schools are recognised for being highly structured and disciplined. Handbooks run to many pages clearly identifying the penalty for student infractions in minutiae of detail. The detail comes in part from the commitment to ISO90001 which demands boring down into the detail of process for every activity.
The school leverages its parent’s proprietary “9 GEMS” holistic approach to education, this focused on sport, entrepreneurship, creativity, personality (including speech and drama), ethics, community (including action and charity/service), fine and performing arts and extra-curricular clubs.
It is not clear currently whether all of the features of GIIS schools elsewhere will be incorporated in Abu Dhabi. These include a policy on children cleaning toilets:
“We started it almost a decade back insisting that our students who come from 56 nationalities in our schools actually go and clean the toilets – and the students that are cleaning the toilets are not just Indian citizens, but are all the students – the Japanese, Malaysian, Swiss and Europeans, Australians, all the kids participate in it, it is just one of the initiatives we have.”
Atul Temurnikar, Chairman and Co-founder, Global Schools Foundation, Speech to the IOD, 2014
The school will include a Global Indian Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Universal Values (MGCUV) highlighting the values and beliefs “of the great leader on non-violence” and the founding school Head, Ramesh Mudgal, one of the most experienced in the Group having worked previous as Principal of two GIIIS schools in Whitefield and Queenstown, has spoken passionately about the benefits of India historically gaining independence from the British. Its programmes are designed to “inculcating your child with strong virtues, values and moral ethics.”
GIIIS also has plans to build on its expertise in the teaching of cricket through the launch of its Chandu Borde Global Cricket Academy (CBGCA) programmes, first developed in India in 2012.
Academically the school’s Global Montessori Plus programme is designed to develop children’s multiple intelligences and love of learning through child rather than traditional teacher-driven play. Unusually, the school advertises that “mid-term admissions do not matter at GIIS. Every new student is assigned a buddy to help him or her settle down seamlessly and the teacher oversees the Buddy Programme as a facilitator” – presumably the premise is that at FS-KG stage the children do not miss anything that cannot be caught up with.
“Free play is important for children when they choose to play the games that they like and are not bound by structure of the games. It helps in freedom of expression and generating positive energy in children.”
The school describes its campus as a “sprawling” 19,000 square metre affair and some parents initially did express concerns that the school was untidy, particularly at its entrance. This is likely to be less planned, however, than the inevitable muddles of a new school opening and other schools in the group are by no means “sprawling” or untidy. Although the school does advertise its facilities as “state-of-the-art”, they are probably better described as efficient in the context of Abu Dhabi provision.
Facilities include classrooms; “hygienic and age appropriate toilet facilities”; a canteen; online learning facilities, digitally equipped classrooms, multi-purpose auditorium with a stage and projector; dedicated KG play areas and a video-conferencing room.
“Special” facilities for indoor and outdoor sports include a 25M pool (“well-maintained and cleaned regularly”); basketball court; badminton court and football pitch.
Co/extra-curricular activities include environmental programmes (in which children will learn how to re-use and recycle waste through best-out-of-waste activities).
The school has adopted a House System drawn from the UK independents in which each child is assigned to be either a Chrysanthemum, Hibiscus, Orchid, or Sunflower on their entrance to the school. The system is recognised for engendering healthy competition and whole school purpose amongst children and it is an interesting feature of the programme at GIIIS that house rewards and points will extend across every aspect off school life including Extra Curricular Activity [ECA] programmes.
Stand out features of the school according to our sister site, WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, include its investment in an (impressive) “Confluence” programme for parents so they can better partner an engage with the school in educating their children; on-going weekly investment in teacher training; a parental “GIS Portal” so that they can track their children’s development; and an e-learning portal where children can develop both their numeracy and language skills through online play at home and at school. We particularly like the transparency of its Facebook pages which provides unmoderated, genuine feedback from parents on the school, good and bad, together with published responses from the school. An open school is one that is very likely to be one ready to listen, learn, evolve and improve.
The school’s fee structure, ranging from 10,000 AED at KG1 to 11,800 in Year 12 represents a genuine, very impressive recognition by the Global Schools Foundation [GSF] that what many Indian families need are schools pitched at villa school fee levels. That they have delivered this pitch perfectly across every phase in a school with a good level of facilities and very clear focus on providing a very high standard of educational provision for children, is high laudable – and results in The Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi campus filling a need that other providers have been unwilling, or in most cases simply unable to meet.
It is too early days to comment on the success of the school but the is demand for Indian education in the Emirate following the evolving decade long crisis in education provision for Indian families, many of which, as the Villa schools closed under ADEC improvement programmes, found themselves with no choice but to separate from their children, returning them to India for their schooling, is intense. The school’s opening in Abu Dhabi could not have come at a better time, or be a school more needed by the community and children it serves.
Prospective parents should note that as a school in launch scoring is predictive only, based on whichschooladvisor data, published school information, independent feedback from stakeholders, comparative facility provision for the sector and our assessment of provision elsewhere historically.
Registration is now open at the Global Indian International School, Abu Dhabi Campus for limited places remaining in KG1 and KG2 and for future entry into Years 1 – Year 8. Fees range from 10,000 AED in KG1 to 11,400 AED in Year 8.Go to the NEWS STORY on WhichSchoolAdvisor.com
YEAR 1: 10,200
YEAR 2: 10,400
YEAR 3: 10,600
YEAR 4: 10,800
YEAR 5: 11,000
YEAR 6: 11,200
YEAR 7: 11,400
YEAR 8: 11,400
YEAR 9: 11,600
YEAR 10: 11,600
YEAR 11: 11,800
YEAR 12: 11,800
YEAR 13: NA
Central Board of Secondary Education
Yes, by aptitude and/or written testing from KG2 and interviews with faculty
In some phases
Baniyas East, Abu Dhabi
Indian (largest nationality)
Global Schools Foundation [GSF]
(+971) 522 181 585
(+971) 266 564 23
(+971) 551 915 500
(+971) 250 795 55
• Value fee structure perfectly pitched to market
• Good standard of provision for target market – as school beds in the ROI value proposition could be exceptional
• Clear leadership focus – Founding Principal the most experienced in the GIIS Group
• Educational provision very badly needed in the Emirate launching not before time
• Phased opening to give the school proper time to resolve inevitable teething issues
• Founding parents and children will have clear role in evolution and culture of school
• Impressive parental engagement and educational partnership programmes
• School will inevitably feel roomy opening at under 10% of eventual capacity
• Delay in opening caused significant parental worry
• Some concerns over “innovations” elsewhere in the group including children cleaning toilets that will not be appropriate for the Emirate
• School must avoid pressures for overcrowding
• Lack of detail on class sizes and student:pupil ratios
• Over-marketing and rhetoric dilutes the impact of a school that in itself promises to make an important contribution to the Emirate