The 21 Best Indian Schools in Dubai

With belated publication of both the KHDA inspection reports and public exam results, rounding up the Best Indian Schools in Dubai has taken a little longer than usual. But it has allowed us to add a third important source of information - Parent Opinion.
The 21 Best Indian Schools in Dubai
By C Hoppe
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Our review of the best Indian curriculum schools in Dubai is driven by information from several sources.  Traditionally, we have relied heavily on the results of the Dubai School Inspection Bureau (DSIB) annual school inspection process - and will continue to do so. 

However, increasingly, we are using feedback provided to us by parents, students and teachers through our school surveys as a key means of identifying the schools felt to be performing at the highest level by their communityA further set of increasingly relevant data, being made more available by schools, are examination results.

Note: Click here for the Best Indian Schools in Dubaias rated by parents.

The Dubai schools’ regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)'s DSIB teams started to inspect schools in the emirate in 2008. The KHDA has put in place an increasingly rigorous process of inspection visits. Schools are inspected against a core set of six performance standards - usually on an annual basis - and rated from Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable and Weak to Very Weak.

The KHDA also seeks to focus on and improve performance across a range of specific areas that reflect the UAE’s National Education agenda. This means that the demands on schools increase annually, and it is only through a process of continuous improvement that schools are able to retain or improve their rating. To understand the criteria behind the KHDA's ratings, read What Makes a School Outstanding 

In January 2020, the KHDA announced that there were some 295,148 students studying in private schools of 16 different curricula in Dubai, indicating a 2.1% enrolment growth over the previous year. Students were divided between 143,040 girls and 152,108 boys, including 34,452 Emiratis. The largest nationality groups were 98,527 Indian, followed by 34,452 UAE nationals, and 22,668 Pakistanis.

There were a total of 208 schools at the start of the 2019-20 academic year, including 34 Indian curriculum schools (where there has been flat growth in terms of student numbers over the past 5 years). Whilst the number of schools remains relatively small as a percentage of the overall total (at around 15%), the size of many of the Indian curriculum schools (where enrolment of two to four thousand students is not uncommon) means that they cater to a disproportionate 26.7% of students. A little over 79,000 students are enrolled in Indian curriculum schools in the Emirate.

For parents new to the UAE education scene wondering where the remaining families from the sub-continent and its neighbouring countries send their 42,000 plus children to school, the answer lies predominantly with British curriculum schools. The English National curriculum remains popular with families who may be considering sending their children to university in the UK, or who expect to continue to provide their children with an international education (in the UAE or elsewhere) until they leave school.

Recently, there has also been some interest in the International Baccalaureate curriculum, which is viewed generally as the most broad and academic curriculum, and increasingly as the gold standard for the world’s highest rated universities.  The opening of Ambassador International Academy offering a mixed UK/IB curriculum (and with a strong reputation as a result of its well-regarded CBSE curriculum Ambassador School and Kindergarten), appears to have piqued the interest of some Indian families.  In addition, the only Outstanding rated Indian curriculum school - GEMS Modern Academy - also offers an IB Diploma Programme option for Grade 11 and 12 students.

The 2019-20 KHDA inspection cycle saw 32 of 34 Indian curriculum schools in Dubai inspected.

To, 2019-20 looked like a period of on-going consolidation for most Indian curriculum schools, though there have been several improvements in KHDA ratings from Good to Very Good. No school was added to those achieving the top Outstanding rating – leaving GEMS Modern Academy to carry this banner alone again.

There were never going to be changes among the very top rankings with Outstanding rated GEMS Modern Academy, and The Indian High School, together with Delhi Private School (both rated Very Good) retaining their ratings. This followed the decision announced by the KHDA in September 2019 that schools operating at the two highest rating levels would be inspected in a shortened one day visit which would essentially (barring disaster) lead to them retaining their current rating. The focus was clearly on showing that these schools were continuing to improve against those recommendations set out by the inspection team in the previous year.

Table of Outstanding and Very Good schools

School Name Main Curriculum 2019-20 overall rating 2018-2019 overall rating 2017-2018 overall rating KHDA Approved Fees 2019-20
GEMS Modern Academy CISCE Outstanding Outstanding Outstanding 28646 - 60635 
Ambassador Kindergarten CISCE Very good Very good Very good 20108 - 26808
Ambassador School CISCE Very good Good Good 20904 - 42298
Delhi Private School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 10298 - 14416
GEMS New Millennium School  CBSE Very good Good Good 21397 - 31025
GEMS Our Own English High School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 7527 - 15313
JSS International School CBSE Very good Good Good 15483 - 40401
JSS Private School CBSE Very good Good Good 11228 - 24384
The Indian High School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 5525 - 10465
The Millennium School CBSE Very good Very good Very good 16898 - 24849

New Schools Rated Very Good in 2019-20

Four additional were added to the list of schools rated Very Good in 2019-20. These were Ambassador School, GEMS New Millennium School, JSS International School and JSS Private School.

According to KHDA data, this means that 6,244 students attended Indian schools that have improved their rating. For the second year, no schools declined in the overall performance judgments.

Of the remaining Indian curriculum schools, 11 were rated 'Good'. This means that they are performing at a level above that required by the Regulator (Acceptable is the lowest required rating). Historically, and somewhat controversially, the KHDA had encouraged and related improved performance to an ability to increase school fees.  This now appears to have been adapted to ensure that schools which genuinely need additional resources to improve are able to apply for additional funding through fee increases. 

Table of ‘Good’ Indian schools

School Name Main Curriculum 2019-20 overall rating 2018-2019 overall rating 2017-2018 overall rating KHDA Approved Fees 2019-20
Amled School CBSE Good Good Acceptable 10414 - 18000
Bilva Indian School CBSE Good Good Acceptable 12000 - 22000
Credence High School CBSE Good Good Good 15311 - 25518
GEMS Heritage School* CBSE Good Good Not inspected 14290 - 22455
GEMS Our Own Indian School CBSE Good Good Good 6360 - 12965
Our Own High School CBSE Good Good Good 8734 - 14569
Primus Private School CBSE Good Good Good 11339 - 22731
Springdales School CBSE Good Good Good 18814 - 32000
The Indian Academy CBSE Good Good Good 11102 - 20414
The Indian High School-Branch CBSE Good Good Good 5276 - 5525
The Kindergarten Starters CBSE Good Good Good 7711 - 10292

* Closing in March 2021

There were no new schools added to the list of Good schools in the 2019-20 inspection round.

10 schools were rated 'Acceptable' and just one received the lowest possible 'Weak' rating. Among the Acceptable schools, was Amity School Dubai, which had been inspected for the first time. Global Indian International School, which was due for inspection for the first time during 2019-20, missed out on its inspection due to the Covid 19 related school closures.

Jump: For a full listing of inspection results  

Finally, the third source of information that we at consider when arriving at our view of the Best Schools is in relation to Academic Performance, notably in respect of public examinations.

Where schools publish this information (and we strongly urge all schools of all curricula to make this information available), we see this as a useful and important set of data, even if, for Indian families, results from the CBSE or CISCE exams are less relevant for university entry. We do also strongly believe that exam results are not, and should not be the be-all and end-all of education, but they are, none-the-less a relevant measure.

However, as a measure of how well students are achieving by comparison with other schools, this is the closest to independent information that is generally available. Of course, with the cancellation, postponement and use of assessment to arrive at results for exams students missed as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, even these results do not provide as much data as would usually be the case.

Jump here for details of CBSE results for 2019-20

Jump here for details of CISCE results for 2019-20

We strongly advise parents to look at all three sets of information, together with the detailed reviews provided for each school. Parent opinion can be found under the tab above the school review. Where insufficient data has been provided by parents, the data will not be available. The KHDA inspection reports also include a final section which includes Parent and Student Feedback to the regulator, though this is not as detailed as the survey.

The latest KHDA inspection reports can be found under the Inspection Report tab above the review, and we would always encourage you to read the full report, in order to understand the reasoning behind the overall rating.  It may well be that as a parent, you do not necessarily share the same priorities as the Regulator, and it is important to understand where the inspection team's focus lies and how relevant this is to your child's needs.  Understanding the context of the inspection particularly applies to schools who may not yet be rated as Good or higher, but may well be a long way along the road to improvement. 

Details of academic achievement, where provided by schools, are updated as part of our ongoing review update process and included within the school review.


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