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No examinations this Year for British schools. KHDA, ADEK and MOE step in to block Cambridge International from Imposing Examinations on UAE students.
  • No GCSE and A’ Level examinations this Year for British schools as biggest global Exam Board stopped in its tracks by powerful intervention by MOE and school regulators.
  • Cambridge International Examinations had refused to budge, despite all other examination Boards replacing examinations with Teacher Assessed Grades to reflect the impact of Covid 19 and protect students.
  • Cambridge International Examinations had risked a 2 tier educational system worldwide that could have marginalised UAE students by making them take examinations whilst the rest of the world had grades assessed by teachers.
  • KHDA, ADEK and MOE move to block Cambridge International imposing examinations on students and schools welcomed by students, schools and the UK government who had specifically asked for international examinations to be cancelled and been ignored.
  • Move the strongest evidence yet of the power and courage of the KHDA, ADEK and MOE to take on global giants where necessary to ensure outstanding education in the UAE – and the steadfast support of UAE families, students and schools.

In a shock move, the MOE and School regulators have stepped in to block Cambridge International Examinations from imposing GCSE and A Levels on schools and students across the UAE. The attempt by Cambridge International Examinations to force students and schools to sit examinations instead of allowing Teacher Assessed Grades threatened bringing British education into disrepute by creating a two tier education system in which British home students would not be examined whilst students elsewhere continued to be examined and rendered “second rate”.

The risk to UAE students being unfairly penalised, with their life chances damaged,  is believed to have led to the powerful move by the regulators to block CIE from a plan that has seen schools, students and parents world wide up in arms and ignored.

SchoolsCompared, which has been lobbying for a change of approach for months, has seen its entreaties to CIE fall on deaf ears. Our single response from the organisation before today’s decision was to justify its decision with little more than PR spin.

After contacting CIE last night we received the following muted response explaining that they had now, finally been forced to change course by the UAE’s MOE and school regulators:

Following a directive from the Ministry of Education in the UAE cancelling all international exams, we will work with schools to ensure students entered for the June 2021 exam series can still receive grades using school assessed grades’’

Significantly we also received confirmation that CIE will now also cancel examinations in Saudi Arabia and Qatar:

“We can confirm that Cambridge International exams will not be going ahead in Saudia Arabia and Qatar in June 2021. We will be working with our schools in both countries to provide students with school assessed grades.”

The massive climb down, arguably the biggest by a global organisation in the field of education in UAE history, will have pivotal implications for schools and students who will now see grades awarded this year properly and fairly reflect the ability and talent of every child.


More on this story, and our campaigning to have CIE change course can be found here.

The original decision by Cambridge International Examinations has not endeared itself to schools or students. A recent petition by students accused the Group of being motivated by fee revenue not the interests of schools or students. Schools have contacted us expressing unhappiness with CIE, highlighting that, compared with the alternative exam boards, it is far too expensive for schools with small cohorts and is unresponsive to the individual needs of families for affordable examination fee structures.

Bottom line: the decision by the MOE, ADEK and KHDA to step in deserves very, VERY, significant praise for its courage. The result of the regulator’s block on CIE now promises to transform the life chances of students across the UAE – and, further, it seems protect students across the GCC where CIE has now been forced to jump before it was pushed.

Johnathan Westley, Editor, said:

“I have never been more proud of our regulators. Their move to take on a global giant to fight for fairness and the interests of families and students across the UAE is beyond creditable – it is an inspiration. Students in British schools across the UAE subject to CIE examination can today breathe an enormous sigh of relief as they will now be treated in exactly the same way as British home students – and have their grades determined by the outstanding schools and teachers in the UAE that know them best.”

© 2021. All rights reserved.


About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]
  • lespubyjovrsd
    March 31, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    What about the IB?

  • lespubyjovrsd
    March 31, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    What about IB?

  • Wanda
    April 1, 2021 at 9:40 am

    What about the international baccalaureate students who are taking their exams in the UAE? How is that fair to the UAE IB students when the government cancelled every single international exam here? We are the only ones who are suffering right now and we are urging the ministry to take action regarding this situation as this is injustice and it is not safe to conduct these IB exams.

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