The Government of UAE is focusing on every opportunity to become a top-draw for international students — and Dubai, known for luxury shopping, ultramodern architecture and a lively nightlife scene, is taking the lead in this field as well, writes Dipen Pradhan of Elets News Network (ENN).
Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is today one of the fastest growing cities, gaining a strong pace in becoming the knowledge-based economy with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projecting a growth of 3.5 per cent for 2018, says International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Known for providing “quality of life” and “standard of living” to its citizens abreast with world’s finest infrastructure, the city draws attention of thousands of expatriates with attractive job and business opportunities.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, is making an endeavour to reform the education sector on par with global trends and best practices.
In the federal budget 2017-2021, the UAE Government allocated AED 10.2 billion for both public and private higher education, comprising 20.5 per cent of the total budget of AED 248 billion.
The UAE’s Ministry of Education has also introduced the 10-year development strategy 2010-20 to provide students a high-quality curriculum and excellent teaching along with improved student life, affordable and high-quality education.
Similarly, Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed, laying the foundation for the future Dubai, launched the ‘UAE Centennial 2071 Plan’ —in which the education has been given a top priority.
The UAE secured the top position in the Global School Ranking – 2015, among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and 45 worldwide. The report compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), published every three years, was based on test scores in math and science among 15-year-olds in 76 countries, highlighting the link between education and economic growth.
The British Council has also recognised UAE as one of the best countries for its “Support of International Higher Education” among 38 countries. It further ranked the country second for “Quality assurance and Degree recognition” and fifth for “Openness and Mobility” categories. The literacy rate of UAE is at 93.8 per cent, according to the UNDP report.
Dubai, Home to International Schools
International schools in the Middle East countries have witnessed 7.8 per cent increase in the number of students aged 3 to 18 from September 2015 to September 2016, according to ISC Research. The Research further suggests the UAE leading the world with 593 international schools for 3 and 18-year-olds with 600,000 students enrollment.
The Government of UAE is taking every chance in becoming a top-draw for international students —and Dubai is taking the lead. Dubai is currently home to 283 international schools —including kindergarten, primary and secondary schools.
The international students in Higher Education schools in the city currently add 30 per cent to the total higher education students, growing steadily at 10 percent annually —according to Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), an education regulation body of Dubai.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, 27 international branch campuses from 12 countries were operating in Dubai —including UK, Australia, India, US, Russia, Austria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iran, France, Canada, and Ireland.
The Government is investing significantly in equipping schools and colleges, in both public and private, with smart devices.
From a traditional way of education to conventional, Dubai schools are adopting e-learning and virtual classrooms method of education. Various schools have adopted this global method of learning to assign tasks, set collaborative learning experiences, share learning resources.
Many e-learning platforms have emerged —offering students virtual classes online that include screencasts from teachers, multimedia presentations, as well as live sessions —conducting exams along with issuing reports.
The schools and colleges offer a wide variety of quality courses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), including a pool of international subject experts, and a host of comprehensive scholarship programmes.
Study Expenditure in Dubai
Unlike other cities in the Middle East, Dubai schools are far from suffering the impact of expatriate student departure —credit to its diverse economy, ISC reports.
When it comes to the cost of studying at international schools in Dubai, it is perhaps —and not surprisingly —the most expensive city in the Middle East.
Private school fees in Dubai start from about AED 2,500, or about US $ 690, per month. The fees vary, depending upon KHDA inspection rating, location, curriculum, track record, and facilities.
The most expensive school in the UAE starts from the bracket of AED 83,000 (US $22,600) for pre-kindergarten to AED 130,000 (US $35,400) for Grades 11 and 12.
Rise of Home Schooling in Dubai
Due to many reasons, with one being the varying education cost in city’s schools, Dubai has been witnessing a spike in home schooling.
For UAE nationals, the Ministry of Education mandates children attend school through at least the age of 16. The authorities provide a set of curriculum for home schooling for Emiratis, but there is no such regulation of home schooling for the expatriate population. However, the KHDA recommends using the curriculum that is licensed and accredited in their respective home country.