*This article may have affiliate links, which means we may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links we provide (at no extra cost to you). For more details, please read our privacy policy/affiliate disclosure. Thank you for supporting the work we put into this blog!

You’ve land­ed a new job in the Mid­dle East – Dubai, per­haps? — and the whole fam­i­ly is over the moon about the impend­ing move to this new, excit­ing part of the world. Your mind starts reel­ing with every­thing you need to do to pre­pare for this mon­u­men­tal change – learn about the cul­ture and the weath­er, find a place to live, and maybe even start learn­ing Ara­bic, so you fit in and feel more at home in your new city. Then some­thing equal­ly impor­tant hits you: how do you choose a school for your child when you’re still thou­sands of miles away from your new neighbourhood? It’s not as though you can take a tour of half a dozen schools six months in advance and take your time mulling over which one is the best. Or is it indeed pos­si­ble to do just that? Ide­al­ly, that’s pre­cise­ly what you should do! A quick trip to the region you’ll be liv­ing in, for the express pur­pose of choos­ing a school, is the best way to feel con­fi­dent about the place that’s going to edu­cate your child. But we know ide­al cir­cum­stances aren’t always part of life. There­fore, we want to give you some infor­ma­tion about, and insight into, choos­ing a school in the Mid­dle East. international schools in the middle east l middle east education for expats Avail­abil­i­ty of a spot for your child depends in part on the area you are mov­ing to; in terms of the num­ber of Eng­lish lan­guage, inter­na­tion­al schools, the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates is the leader, with (accord­ing to the most recent sta­tis­tics) 627 insti­tu­tions of this type. More than 600,000 expats’ chil­dren are enrolled in these schools as of 2019, and most are in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Cur­rent­ly, there is a sur­plus of spaces, and get­ting your child set up in school should­n’t present too many hur­dles. Sau­di Ara­bia also has many inter­na­tion­al schools and is plan­ning to estab­lish hun­dreds more by 2030, keep­ing with the King­dom’s poli­cies on edu­ca­tion and ser­vices for expats. Accord­ing to ISC Research, in total, there are more than 1,500 Eng­lish lan­guage inter­na­tion­al schools across the Mid­dle East. Those are the sta­tis­tics and the num­bers. But how do you go about choos­ing a new school for your child when you’re still liv­ing thou­sands of miles away? We’ve got some ideas and strate­gies you should pur­sue well before your actu­al move, so you are well equipped with infor­ma­tion that helps you make the best deci­sion pos­si­ble for your child.

- How Much Does It Cost?

Like pri­vate edu­ca­tion any­where, fees for inter­na­tion­al schools in the Mid­dle East vary wide­ly. In Man­a­ma, for exam­ple, there is a school that charges approx­i­mate­ly $1,000 (USD) per year. More com­mon­ly, how­ev­er, school fees run into the tens of thou­sands, so you must be real­is­tic about which one your fam­i­ly can afford. In Dubai, fees run up to $25,000 per year at some schools. Remem­ber, inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion is a rel­a­tive­ly recent mod­el in the Mid­dle East (the first was estab­lished in the mid-1970s). Still, the schools are accred­it­ed with glob­al bod­ies, ensur­ing that your child’s diplo­ma is equiv­a­lent to one earned in Amer­i­ca or the U.K. (To fur­ther explore costs by region and city. Please vis­it Inter­na­tion­al Schools Data­base ). And while the schools seem quite new com­pared to insti­tu­tions like Eton in Britain, and oth­ers in Amer­i­ca and even Cana­da, in real­i­ty, edu­ca­tors in the Mid­dle East have large­ly received excel­lent marks for the qual­i­ty of edu­ca­tion they offer and the rig­or­ous stan­dards of the inter­na­tion­al schools. The British School Of Abu Dhabi, for exam­ple, was just found­ed in 2009, yet in that rel­a­tive­ly short peri­od has become a leader in the region, for its aca­d­e­mics but also its diverse stu­dent body, with more than 80 nation­al­i­ties rep­re­sent­ed through­out all grades. The best simulated diamonds & diamond coated cubic zirconia jewelry in the world!

Two School Profiles:

Here’s a look at two Eng­lish medi­um inter­na­tion­al schools, one in Dubai and one in Qatar. These will give you a com­pre­hen­sive look at how most inter­na­tion­al schools func­tion – the class­es, the clubs, and more.

1- Kent College Dubai:

This col­lege was estab­lished in 2016, but it has more than 100 years of edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ence behind it in the form of its sis­ter col­lege in the U.K., Kent Col­lege Can­ter­bury. The school is for a wide range of stu­dents, aged three to 18, and focus­es on a broad-rang­ing cur­ricu­lum based on the British mod­el. Fur­ther­more, its lead­ers advance holistic edu­ca­tion by encour­ag­ing stu­dents to join clubs, teams and oth­er scholas­tic and extra-cur­ric­u­lar endeav­ours. This approach helps them devel­op life skills, team-build­ing skills and fos­ters coop­er­a­tive group work and crit­i­cal think­ing. Because of this approach, this school has earned a ster­ling rep­u­ta­tion among glob­al edu­ca­tors and expats.

2- International School Of London Qatar:

This school was estab­lished in 2008 and has stu­dents in all grades, from pri­ma­ry to senior. It is praised for keep­ing the teacher-to-stu­dent ratio of class­es small, approx­i­mate­ly 20 stu­dents for every fac­ul­ty member. There are cur­rent­ly more than 80 nation­al­i­ties among the stu­dent body, and more than 40 rep­re­sent­ed among the staff. Costs here vary, depend­ing on the grade, but for seniors in grade 11, annu­al fees run upwards of 75,000 Qatari Riyals.

Other Schools In Other Middle Eastern Countries:

As we not­ed ear­li­er, there are approx­i­mate­ly 1,500 inter­na­tion­al Eng­lish medi­um schools across the Mid­dle East. And more and more are being built, as some places, includ­ing Abu Dhabi and Dubai, now allow cit­i­zens to enrol their chil­dren in inter­na­tion­al schools if they wish. Once you know for cer­tain where you will be resid­ing, start search­ing the Inter­net for schools in the area, decide what mat­ters most to you in terms of cur­ricu­lum (arts and music; sports; lan­guages?) and zero in on schools by using those “wish list” criteria. Each coun­try has a gov­ern­ing body that decides the goals and man­dates for edu­ca­tion, and inter­na­tion­al bod­ies, like Inter­na­tion­al Bac­calau­re­ate Orga­ni­za­tion, can be help­ful with your search, as well. No mat­ter where you and your fam­i­ly are prepar­ing to set­tle in the Mid­dle East, the school you choose is per­haps the sin­gle most impor­tant deci­sion you’ll make, at least in terms of whether the relo­ca­tion will go well, and smooth­ly, for your child. Noth­ing can replace actu­al­ly tour­ing schools your­self, as par­ents, meet­ing fac­ul­ty and staff face to face, and see­ing the facil­i­ties “live,” so to speak. But doing a lot of inves­ti­ga­tion before­hand goes a long way toward mak­ing the right choice since some­times it is impos­si­ble to vis­it the region before your move. But inter­na­tion­al schools in the Mid­dle East have received excel­lent reviews from all sides – from edu­ca­tors who work in the sys­tem, from expats who enroll their chil­dren in these schools, and – per­haps most impor­tant­ly – from grad­u­ates themselves. We live in a world that is, in cer­tain pro­found respects, a vil­lage, and prepar­ing our chil­dren for the “glob­al vil­lage” is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of all parents. If you seize the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work in The Mid­dle East and expose your child to a myr­i­ad of new cul­tures and cus­toms, you undoubt­ed­ly want to con­tin­ue their edu­ca­tion in the best set­ting pos­si­ble. Inter­na­tion­al schools in the Mid­dle East offer you that opportunity!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join Our Mailing List To Receive The Latest News and Updates From Our Team. Don't Miss a Post! Get the Weekly Newsletter Sent Right to Your Inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!