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Primary and secondary education in the UAE where international students can get secondary education

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Education information

Actually, primary and secondary school education is compulsory for all young students in the United Arab Emirates. Educational process is divided into following steps:

  • Preschool education (4-6 years);

  • Primary school in UAE (6 years);

  • Secondary school (3 years);

  • High school (3 years).

Types of education in UAE:

  • Mixed - boys and girls study together (in a state school - in primary grades);

  • Separate - education for boys and girls (at the middle and senior levels of education).

Studying in best schools in UAE is usually mixed. Boys and girls are studying separately only in special Schools of religious bias. 

We have compiled a list of the best and most prestigious educational institutions in the UAE, as well as their rating for international schoolchildren, adolescents and students. For the convenience of choosing, international students or their parents can use the list and detailed description of schools and international programs, indicated tuition fees, features and student reviews - and SMAPSE specialist will help foreign students choose the perfect course. FREE enrollment services at partner institutions is opened in the UAE, but the number of places is limited. SMAPSE local manager can help with detailed information and assistance in different aspects of education abroad:

  • Selection of institutions;

  • Advices about a package of documents;

  • The requirements for filing and terms of admission.

Studying at private schools in the UAE as a foreign student

Nowadays, private schools are really popular among students from all over the world. First British schools began work in 1953 in Sharjah. Such private institutions were very comfortable for foreign students living in the country that had an opportunity to study in a comfortable environment. Today, provate schools provide a full secondary education and issue a certificate for graduates.

Among the vocational schools there are schools of commercial and agricultural orientation:

  • Center for further studying of specialists in the oil Industry

  • Secondary technical school

  • Pedagogical women's institute

  • Commercial secondary school and others.

Secondary schools in the UAE

Secondary education in the UAE for schoolchildren is offered by public and private schools.

The Educational program at the state educational institution of the UAE includes:

  • Arabic language;

  • Religious subjects (the Koran, Muslim culture, history).

Education in public schools in UAE is conducted in Arabic. Educational program is paid for foreign students.

There are private schools in the country aimed at foreign children and adolescents. The first British school began operating in 1953 in Sharjah. Private educational institutions were created so that foreign children living in the country could receive education in a comfortable environment for themselves. They have the necessary licenses and permits, thanks to which they can provide complete secondary education (from grades 1 to 11) and issue a certificate to graduates.

Private schools in the UAE offer middle school academic programs for international children and adolescents that meet international educational standards. The educational program includes:

  • Foreign languages ​​(minimum 3 - English, French / German, Arabic);

  • Mathematics;

  • Physical education and sports;

  • Natural Sciences;

  • Social sciences, humanities;

  • Art;

  • Design.

Education is conducted in English. Foreign students are offered accommodation in residences on a full board basis, where the boarders are under the constant supervision of experienced educators.

High Schools in UAE for international students

Secondary school education in the UAE for international students in private educational institutions is represented by several programs that prepare for admission to higher educational institutions.

GCSE in the United Arab Emirates

The General Certificate of Secondary Education program offers deepening knowledge in academic disciplines, strengthening and expanding language skills, and forms the research skills necessary for studying at higher levels. The curriculum includes compulsory and optional disciplines of the students' choice. Optional classes will help foreign students better navigate the choice of a future specialty, deepen their knowledge in one of the areas of study. After successfully passing the exams, students receive a prestigious certificate, which opens up the possibility of admission to top colleges and universities in Europe and the world.

Swiss matriculation certificate for schoolchildren in the UAE

The Swiss program for high school students offers education in the European educational system. It involves an in-depth study of 7 academic disciplines, 1 elective and an additional specialized subject. Educational process is conducted in English and French. For foreign students who have received a Swiss certificate of maturity, admission to elite universities around the world is open, including prestigious universities in Switzerland, without admission tests.

Getting Higher education in the UAE

Universities and higher schools in the UAE provide high-quality, complete higher education. Its level corresponds to high international standards, classes are conducted by qualified experienced teachers. Each course is certified and accredited by the Ministry of Education, and tested by a special Agency of Quality. All universities are perfectly equipped, free access to Internet is provided, and all necessary equipment for effective studying is available.

The UAE universities have branches in numerous studying centers in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. Universities of the country offer studying a wide range of specialties. For example, management, business, information technology, marketing and economics. The education received in the UAE opens up huge career opportunities.

One of the leading centers providing Master's programs is the British University (Dubai): it supports traditional British standards, the university works as a major research center, and the quality of education is controlled by the Ministry of Education of the UAE. You can apply to the programs of project management, finance, banking, architecture, information technology, education - the cost of studying is about $ 20,000 per year.

The studying is conducted in two languages: Arabic and English (according to the chosen programme and direction). Actually, students can study here throughout the year. Exams are held twice during the semester (they lasts 10 weeks). For 3-4 years here you can get a Bachelor's degree, and then Master's degree for 2-3 years.

Tuition fee at universities UAE

On average, tuition fees for studying at a university in the UAE costs $ 5,000-11,000 per year, and the cost of living is about $700 per month

For admission, foreign students must provide a package of documents:

Admission process for international applicants:

  • A certificate of secondary education;

  • A certificate of proficiency in English at the proper level (the results of all major international tests are accepted);

  • Passing the entrance exams.

Learning programs-summary information

Name Meaning Equivalent Min. age Duration,
years
Next stage Cost
GCSE General certificate of secondary education secondary education (non-accomplished) 14 1–2 A-Levels 15,000 USD+
A-Levels Advanced level secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 15,000 USD+
BTEC Business and Technology Education Board secondary special education 14 2–3 University/ work 15,000 USD+
Oxbridge Preparation Preparing for Oxford and Cambridge secondary education (accomplished) 17 1 University 15,000 USD+
International Baccalaureate International baccalaureate secondary education (accomplished) 16 2 University 18,000 USD+
Foundation/ Pathway Year Preparatory year admission to the 1st year of university 17 1 University 14,000 USD+
NCUK The Northern consortium 2 year university 17,5 1 2 year University of NCUK 13,000 USD+
Special Preparation (Medics/Math/Business) Specialized training - 14 optional optional 4,000 USD+
Academic English Academic English Language school 8 + 6–12 months School or University 8,000 USD+

Advantages and disadvantages of English schools

Advantages Disadvantages
The opportunity to enter the best universities in England, USA, Canada, Switzerland, Europe, the world Expensive
High quality of education and academic standards Strong workload
Perfect English after graduation The need to change the social environment; it takes time to adapt
Useful contacts The difficulty of choosing the most suitable school for the child, requires a qualified specialist

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20 CATS Academy Boston
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24 American Hebrew Academy
25 Northfield Mount Hermon School
26 Mater Dei Catholic High School San Diego Amerigo Education
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28 Webb Schools
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30 Groton School
31 Maine Central Institute
32 The Lawrenceville School
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7 Hochalpines Institut Ftan AG High Alpine
8 Aiglon College Switzerland
9 Institut Le Rosey School
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Best boarding schools in England - 2022 Smapse rankings

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13 Stonar School
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17 ACS School Cobham
18 Hurtwood House
19 Uppingham School
20 Scarborough College
21 King's College St Michael’s
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24 Clifton College
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26 Oakham School
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36 City of London Freemen’s School
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38 Brooke House College
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42 Royal Russell School
43 King's Ely
44 Leys Cambridge
45 Leighton Park
46 Bedford School
47 Fyling Hall
48 Royal Hospital School
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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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