Education provision in the UAE is continuing to improve according to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey respondents, nearly a half (47%) of whom now believe education is better in the emirates than it is in their home country.
That figure is up marginally from 44% in 2017, and sharply from 32% in 2015, and is largely being driven by greater choice, particularly in Dubai. Seven new schools opened in Dubai in 2015, 13 in 2016, 11 in 2017 while 2018 should see another year with over 10 new schools launched. While other emirates have seen slower growth, across the UAE new schools have expanded choice for parents.
Abu Dhabi has the highest proportion of parents who believe the quality of education in their child's school is better than they would get in their home country, although Dubai has more parents who believe the quality of education is as good or better. An impressive 52% of those surveyed in Abu Dhabi in 2018 said the quality of education was better than in their home country, versus 47% in Dubai and 35% in Sharjah. However 81% if Dubai parents believe education is as good or better, versus 78% in Abu Dhabi and 64% in Sharjah.
This suggests a degree more variability in Abu Dhabi with less middle ground than in Dubai. That would make sense, as its more northern emirate simply offers greater choice - not only with new schools but, as newer institutions have come online, with the places that have opened up at some of Dubai's traditionally more sought after schools. For parents the only downside in the increasing competition has been the extra weight of increasing choice.
However, it is important to note that choice is not equally applied across school types or curricula. The highest percentage of new schools coming online over the last four years have been at premium fee levels, and targeted at parents looking for a UK or IB based education.
Unsurprisingly therefore, parents going to UK curriculum based schools, are, by and large, more likely to feel that their child receives a better quality of education in the UAE than in their home country. Families sending their children to CBSE schools, by contrast, have far fewer options, and therefore less ability to drive improvements by switching schools. They are consequently the least likely to say schools in the UAE are better than those offered in their home country.
It is a similar story when it comes to fees and the amount parents can afford to pay, although there appears to be diminishing returns moving from premium to ultra-premium schools. This may not be because ultra premiums do not deliver value, but those that can afford the UAE's most expensive schools, can also afford private schools in their own country - and will be making comparisons on that basis.
Note: To see how your child's school, or the school you are researching, is doing, simply click on the Parent Opinion tab on your school's review. If it is not there, it is because it has yet to receive a sufficient number of completed surveys.
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