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 community. A further set of increasingly relevant data being made more available by schools are examination results and where these have been revealed, they are now included in our updates.
Click here for the 20 Best Indian Schools in Dubai, as rated by parents. As more feedback from parents is received, so the position of schools on the Best Indian Schools list will also change - so do check back from time to time.
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 their Autumn/Winter Landscape report for 2021-22 published in October 2021, the KHDA announced that there were some 289,019 students (compared with 295,148 students in 2019-20 - a reduction of 2%, although an increase of 3.5% compared with 2020-21) studying in private schools of 16 different curricula in Dubai. Whilst UK curriculum schools made up the largest proportion with 80 schools and 102,600 students, Indian curriculum schools came in second place, with 32 schools and over 75,600 students.
There were a total of 215 schools (up from 208 in 2020) at the start of the 2021-22 academic year, including 32 Indian curriculum schools (where there had been flat growth in terms of student numbers over the past 5 years and a reduction from 34 schools in 2020).
Whilst the number of Indian curriculum schools remains relatively small as a percentage of the overall total (at just under 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 26.1% of students (a reduction from 26.7% in 2020).
For parents new to the UAE education scene wondering where the remaining families from the sub-continent and its neighbouring countries send their 40,000 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 CISCE 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. Global Indian International School also had plans on opening to offer the IB Diploma programme to its Grade 11 and 12 students, though has stuck with the CBSE for the time being.
The 2019-20 KHDA inspection cycle saw 32 of 34 Indian curriculum schools in Dubai inspected - the closure of AMLED and Bilva Indian schools has reduced the overall figure of 2021-22 to 32 schools.
To WhichSchoolAdvisor.com, 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.
For the first time, our tables now show the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Parent ratings, based on the Parent Opinion Survey which parents are asked to complete. Based on replies to the 28 questions on the survey, schools can achieve a top rating of 5. Our chart shows the parent rating for each school out of this figure. Interestingly, just because a school is rated highly by the Inspectors, this is not necessarily reflected in the Parent Rating!
|School Name||Main Curriculum||WSA Parent rating||KHDA 2019-20 overall rating||KHDA 2018-19 overall rating||KHDA 2017-18 overall rating||KHDA Approved Fees 2022-23|
|GEMS Modern Academy||CISCE||4.0/5||Outstanding||Outstanding||Outstanding||28646 - 52,427/60635*|
|Ambassador Kindergarten||CISCE||2.9/5||Very good||Very good||Very good||19600 - 26808|
|Ambassador School||CISCE||3.8/5||Very good||Good||Good||16500 - 42298|
|Delhi Private School||CBSE||3.2/5||Very good||Very good||Very good||10298 - 14416|
|GEMS New Millennium School||CBSE||3.2/5||Very good||Good||Good||18188 - 31025|
|GEMS Our Own English High School||CBSE||3.4/5||Very good||Very good||Very good||7237 - 15313|
|JSS International School||CBSE||2.8/5||Very good||Good||Good||14424 - 37638|
|JSS Private School||CBSE||3.0/5||Very good||Good||Good||11230 - 24384|
|The Indian High School||CBSE||3.3/5||Very good||Very good||Very good||5525 - 10465|
|The Millennium School||CBSE||3.4/5||Very good||Very good||Very good||16898 - 24849|
* Fees for Grades 11 and 12 for CBSE versus IB curriculum respectively.
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||WSA Parent rating||KHDA 2019-20 overall rating||KHDA 2018-2019 overall rating||KHDA 2017-2018 overall rating||KHDA Approved Fees 2022-23|
|Woodlem Park School (previously Bilva Indian School)||CBSE||3.4/5||Good||Good||Acceptable||12000 - 22000|
|Credence High School||CBSE||4.2/5||Good||Good||Good||15311 - 25518|
|GEMS Our Own Indian School||CBSE||2.7/5||Good||Good||Good||6360 - 12965|
|Our Own High School||CBSE||3.4/5||Good||Good||Good||8734 - 14569|
|Primus Private School||CBSE||3.5/5||Good||Good||Good||11339 - 22731|
|Springdales School||CBSE||4.2/5||Good||Good||Good||18814 - 32000|
|The Indian Academy||CBSE||no surveys submitted||Good||Good||Good||11102 - 20414|
|The Indian High School-Branch||CBSE||3.8/5||Good||Good||Good||5276 - 5525|
|GEMS Legacy School (previously the Kindergarten Starters)||CBSE||4.2/5||Good||Good||Good||7711 - 10292|
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, but still succeeded in achieving second place according to parents on the 20 Best Indian Schools as rated by Parents.
Not all schools that are in the WhichSchoolAdvisor 20 Best Indian Schools as rated by Parents are included in the above charts - some, such as Global Indian International School and Bright Riders School (rated no.18 by parents) because they have not yet been inspected, whilst others are rated Acceptable and yet are still highly regarded by parents such as Gulf Indian High School (rated no.1 by parents!)
Click here for the 20 Best Indian Schools in Dubai, as rated by parents. As more feedback from parents is received, so the position of schools on the Best Indian Schools list will also change - so do check back from time to time. And go here for a full listing of inspection results
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.
The majority of schools did not publish results information for 2020-21, and the last full updates are therefore:
Go here for CBSE results for 2019-20
Go here for CISCE results for 2019-20
Where schools have published results for 2020-21, these will be included within the school review.
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 covers Parent and Student Feedback to the regulator, though this is not as detailed as the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com 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.