How much should you be paying for UAE school fees? There’s no doubt that education costs are one of the most significant outlays for UAE families, with almost one third (29%) of UAE parents spending between 20 – 50% of their household income on school fees per year, according to data gathered from more than 8,000 UAE families by education-intelligence service EdStatica.com.
So how many dirhams does this equate to? EdStatica intelligence can exclusively reveal that the average cost of UAE school fees is Dh31,079 per year. But the average cost per emirate and the cost per school varies dramatically, ranging from Dh2,200 per year at the UAE’s most affordable school, all the way up to Dh106,000 at the country’s most premium school.
The cost of an education in the UAE is the second-highest in the world after Hong Kong, according to a 2018 report by HSBC, with the average family shelling out just under $100,000 (Dh365,000) per child to pay for their primary-to-university education.
But which is the most and least expensive emirate in which to send your child to school? Which are the most and least expensive schools in the UAE? And why do the costs vary so significantly? EdStatica.com data reveals all below.
Average cost of UAE school fees by emirate
Education-intelligence service EdStatica.com has gathered insights from schools across the UAE to reveal which is the cheapest emirate for educating your child in the UAE.
|Emirate||Average cost of School Fees (AED) per year||Average number of students per school||Total number of school students|
|UAE (all emirates)||31,079||1,368||614,017|
|Ras Al Khaimah||16,450||1,508||12,062|
|Umm Al Quwain||21,500||N/A||N/A|
Why are some UAE school fees so much more expensive than others?
Some of the most common gripes we hear from parents is ‘why is education in the UAE so expensive? And why do the costs vary so much?” Indeed, it’s possible to find two good-quality schools offering the same curriculum in the UAE, one of which is double (or more) the cost of the other. Why is this?
There are many possible reasons. In a lot of cases it can be explained by the age of the school. Newer schools often cost significantly more – partly because they have the latest, top-of-the-range facilities and the rent on newly acquired real-estate to pay off, and partly because older schools that opened with a lower price point 20+ years ago (when the Dubai and UAE education landscape was very different) are restricted by the school regulators on how much they can raise their fees by per year.
But there are many other factors that can significantly affect the cost of education and it’s important to realise the compromises on quality that can come with lower fees in many cases. These trade-offs include the student-to-teacher ratios (class sizes can vary from around 15 students per class to 35 or more); the number of subject options that students are allowed to choose between (subject breadth is exceptionally important – and the more subjects offered the greater the investment in teachers required of a school); the extent of extra-curricular choices offered; and the experience and nationality of the school staff (some countries are more expensive to recruit from than others). You will also usually expect to pay more for a recognised brand, whether of an established local school group, or a globally recognised brand that has opened in the region. The rationale is that established brands and school groups give parents the security of working with a known and proven quantity and quality of delivery.
20 Most affordable schools in the UAE
|Indian Public High School Ras al Khaimah||AED 2,200||Indian||Al Seer, Ras al-Khaimah|
|Indian School Fujairah||AED 3,100||Indian||Al Faseel, Fujairah|
|Iranian Salman Farsi Boys School||AED 3,100||Iranian||Al Qusais, Dubai|
|Pakistan Community Welfare School||AED 3,100||FBISE||Mussafah, Abu Dhabi|
|Little Flower English School||AED 3,600||Indian||Hor Al Anz, Dubai|
|Crescent English High School||AED 3,800||Indian||Al Qusais, Dubai|
|Ideal English School||AED 4,400||Indian||Mamourah, Ras al-Khaimah|
|Iranian Khadije Kobra School for Girls||AED 4,400||Iranian||Al Karama, Dubai|
|Happy Home Private School||AED 4,500||British||Al Ghubaiba, Sharjah|
|Asian International School Madinat Zayed||AED 4,500||Indian||Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi|
|Progressive English School||AED 4,600||Indian||Al Yarmouk, Sharjah|
|Gulf Model School||AED 4,700||Indian||Al Muhaisnah, Dubai|
|The Central School Dubai||AED 4,800||Indian||Al Nahda, Dubai|
|International Indian School Ajman||AED 4,800||Indian||Al Jurf, Ajman|
|New Indian Model School Dubai||AED 5,000||Indian||Garhoud, Dubai|
|Far Eastern Private School Al Shahba||AED 5,000||Philippines||Al Shahba, Sharjah|
|Far Eastern Private School Halwan||AED 5,000||Philippines||Halwan, Sharjah|
|Al Ameer English School||AED 5,100||Indian||Jurf, Ajman|
|Grammar School Dubai||AED 5,400||British||Garhoud, Dubai|
|Indian High School Al Garhoud||AED 5,400||Indian||Garhoud, Dubai|
20 Most Expensive Schools in the UAE
|North London Collegiate School Dubai||AED 106,000||IB||Sobha Hartland, Dubai|
|Royal Grammar School Guildford in Dubai||AED 98,000||British||Tilal Al Ghaf, Dubai|
|GEMS World Academy Dubai||AED 90,500||IB||Al Barsha, Dubai|
|Dubai College||AED 86,000||British||Al Sufouh, Dubai|
|GEMS Dubai American Academy||AED 82,500||American, IB||Al Barsha, Dubai|
|Nord Anglia International School Dubai||AED 81,500||British, IB||Al Barsha, Dubai|
|Dwight School Dubai||AED 81,500||IB||Dubai Sports City, Dubai|
|Jumeirah College||AED 81,000||British||Al Safa, Dubai|
|Cranleigh Abu Dhabi||AED 80,500||British||Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi|
|American School of Dubai||AED 77,500||American||Al Barsha, Dubai|
|Kent College Dubai||AED 77,500||British, IB||Nad al Sheba, Dubai|
|Swiss International Scientific School Dubai||AED 77,500||IB||Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2, Dubai|
|Dunecrest American School||AED 77,000||American, IB||Al Barari, Dubai|
|Kings’ School Al Barsha||AED 74,000||British||Al Barsha, Dubai|
|Repton School Al Barsha||AED 73,500||British||Al Barsha South, Dubai|
|Repton School Dubai||AED 73,000||British, IB||Nad al Sheba, Dubai|
|Brighton College Dubai||AED 72,000||British||Al Barsha South, Dubai|
|Dubai English Speaking College||AED 71,500||British||Dubai Academic City, Dubai|
|Arcadia School||AED 71,000||British||Jumeirah Village Triangle, Dubai|
|Australian International School Dubai||AED 70,500||IB||Al Barsha South, Dubai|
How much does a good value, good quality education cost in the UAE?
How can you tell if a school offers good value for your money?
Although it’s true that you often get what you pay for, higher cost does not always equate to higher quality, and vice versa.
One quick way to get an indication of a school’s quality is to look at its inspection rating.
The private-education regulators in Dubai (the KHDA) and Abu Dhabi (ADEK) both arrange regular school inspections, during which they assess a school’s quality based on a variety of criteria, and then award an inspection rating as a result.
These ratings both range from Outstanding to Very Good, Good, Acceptable, Weak and Very Weak. Dubai schools’ inspection ratings are also known as the DSIB rating, because they are awarded by the Dubai School Inspection Bureau, which is part of the office of the Dubai education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Abu Dhabi schools’ inspection rating are known as the Irtiqaa Rating and are awarded by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).
Although the regulators’ rating is not the bottom line when it comes to a schools’ quality – you’ll need to read the SchoolsCompared or WhichSchooAdvisor review and ultimately visit the school for yourself to get that – it gives a useful, broad-brush indication of what sort of level you can expect.
Below is a table of schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that have been rated as either Outstanding or Very Good by their respective regulators, listed in order of their fees.
‘Outstanding’ rated Dubai schools listed in order of cost
|School||Average Fees (AED)||Curriculum|
|Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou School Oud Metha||38,000||French|
|GEMS Modern Academy||43,000||Indian, IB|
|Dubai English Speaking School (Primary only)||43,000||British|
|GEMS Royal Dubai School – Dubai Branch (Primary only)||47,000||British|
|Jumeirah English Speaking School (Primary only)||48,000||British|
|GEMS Jumeira Primary School – Dubai Branch (Primary only)||50,000||British|
|Horizon English School (Primary only)||52,500||British|
|Kings School Dubai L.L.C (Primary only)||55,000||British|
|Dubai British School||60,000||British|
|Jumeirah English Speaking School (Secondary)||65,500||British, IB|
|GEMS Wellington International School – Dubai Branch||68,000||British, IB|
|Dubai English Speaking College||71,500||British|
|Repton School||73,000||British, IB|
|Kings School Al Barsha||74,000||British|
|GEMS Dubai American Academy – Dubai Branch||82,500||American, IB|
‘Very Good’ rated Dubai schools listed in order of cost
‘Outstanding’ rated Abu Dhabi schools listed in order of cost
|School||Average annual fees (AED)||Curriculum|
|Merryland International School||31,000||British|
|Pearl Primary School (Primary only)||43,000||British|
|Al Muna Primary School – Ad (Primary only)||45,000||British|
|Al Yasmina School||51,000||British|
|Raha International School||55,500||IB|
|The British School – Khubairat||59,500||British|
|Brighton College Abu Dhabi||65,000||British|
|Brighton College Al Ain||66,000||British|
|Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi||80,500||British|
‘Very Good’ rated schools listed in order of cost
All fees quoted are either published KHDA fees, or updated standard fees notified to us by schools directly, before any discounts that may be offered by schools to families individually.
© SchoolsCompared.com and EDSTATICATM A WhichMedia Group publication. 2022. All rights reserved.