The UAE's 11 "Ivy League" Schools Are...

The UAE's 11 "Ivy League" Schools Are...
By David Westley
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Dubbed the ‘UAE’s Ivy-League’ and steeped in tradition and history, (well, lengthy at least by UAE standards), seats in the’ Not-For-Profits’ have for years been exceedingly hard to come by.

The KHDA defines a Not-For-Profit school as ‘a school that exists purely for educational reasons; one which is governed by an independent Board with parent representation and from which its shareholders, trustees or any third parties do not benefit financially. Fiscal surpluses, if any, are put back into the institution to further the pursuit of its goals,’ lofty ambitions indeed, but do the Not-For-Profits REALLY live up to the hype?

While one or two of the NFP’s fall short of the exceedingly high bench-mark set by the vast majority, the rest achieve more academically and pastorally than almost all of the newer, more commercial schools could only wish to. The age is the secret for many NFPs, established decades ago, most have low or no rent to pay, no investors requiring dividends and therefore they can spend significantly more money on improving and upgrading facilities and staff salaries.

Born out of necessity, the NFPs were a product of their time. In the days when the UAE was a pioneering expat outpost, companies hoping to send employees here needed to find home-country curriculum schooling solutions if they hoped to get the brightest and best out to work. Setting up a Not-For-Profit school was the solution, and even today many of these original companies still have seats on boards AND seats in the classroom.

Today however, the commercial climate is much changed and it would be foolish to assume the NFP model will be resurrected any time soon and it remains - at the moment, highly unlikely we will see any new contenders entering the scene. There is no doubt however everyone from the regulator downwards would like to work out how to get more Not for Profit philosophy into mainstream private schools. investigates the top Not-For-Profit schools across the UAE and collates the ratings, fees, hype and yes, even the ‘lingo!’

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