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inter­na­tion­al schools in the mid­dle east l mid­dle east edu­ca­tion for expats

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

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.

international schools in the middle east l middle east education for expats

- 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!

international schools in the middle east l middle east education for expats

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.

international schools in the middle east l middle east education for expats

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!
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