Key Moments in UAE Education in 2017

Affordability became a buzzword and key talking point in schools - a welcome change for parents, 2017 was also a very busy year for new initiatives across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a whole...
Key Moments in UAE Education in 2017
By Veathika
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.

Schools and education in 2017 saw many change and many improvements.

As something of a relief for parents, many schools finally turned their attention to fees. The buzzword of the year was ‘affordability’, with schools and school groups beginning to talk seriously about how to deliver high quality, affordable education. Some schools took the decision to freeze fees while most new schools offered a significant founders discount. Some premium tier schools even announced they were seeking permission to lower their fees.

These trends are likely to continue into 2018, even as ultra premium schools set new fee records in the emirates.

However, while school fees continued to be the hottest topic among parents, it was not the only subject of debate. Here we round-up the year's key moments, talking points and key numbers within education in 2017...


UAE Wide Developments

- The new Moral Education programme is rolled out across UAE schools

- Schools embrace the Year of Giving with initiatives across the UAE

- 22 schools decided to freeze their fees

Improving Early Years Provision

The Ministry of Education placed a renewed focus on quality in the Early Years sector, making changes to licensing requirements in a number of key areas:

  • Qualification requirements – standards for nursery staff are raised in line with international best practice
  • Nurseries must now submit a detailed academic plan in order to obtain or renew their license
  • Staff to child ratios are revised
  • Space to child areas are improved
  • Hygiene requirements now more stringent

School Start Age

The Dubai education regulator, the KHDA, lowers school start age to 2 years 8 months for children joining Pre-K/FS1 in schools.  This is not compulsory, however and many British curriculum schools have remained in line with UK guidelines, with FS1 children required to turn 3 by 31st August.

Developments in Dubai 2017

10 new schools opened in Dubai in 2017

GEMS Nations and DAA merge to form Dubai American Academy- Nations Campus

GEMS Sports Academy, Oasis School and Delhi Private Academy close

The Wellness Survey asks every Grade 6 and 8 student across Dubai’s private schools about how happy they are

The ‘Dubai Inclusive Framework’ is introduced

The 'Mohammed Bin Rashid Distinguished Students Programme', is launched allowing high-achieving Emirati students access to Dubai's top private schools

The Abundance Project is completed with a total of 58 schools taking part in the pioneering programme

The KHDA Inspections 2017

Overall, 10 schools improved in 2017 and 4 declined in the year's KHDA inspection ratings

11 schools were inspected for the first time

Dubai’s Indian School Inspections

2 Indian schools dropped in ratings: Springdales from Good to Acceptable and Emirates English Speaking School from Acceptable to Weak

Credence and Bilva were inspected for the first time

The CBSE board of India axes the CBSE-I and changes the exam format for Grade 10

CBSE stops 41 vocational courses

Dubai Schools Re-writing the Rules in 2017

JESS Arabian Ranches announces new admission testing

Horizon and Repton discount fees

DESC unveils its stunning new 6th Form

Abu Dhabi in 2017

ADEK approves fee increases for 24 schools

ADEK bans 23 schools from admitting new students

ADEK announces inspections for top schools to change from two years to four

7 new schools open in Abu Dhabi

75 schools are inspected -

  • 5 schools are rated Very Good
  • 23 are rated Good
  • 30 are considered Acceptable
  • 16 are Weak
  • 1 is Very Weak

Click here for complete ADEK Ratings

Sharjah & Northern Emirates

2 new schools open in Sharjah (Al Kamal American School and American School of Creative Science Al Layyah Campus) and 4 school expansions are completed

In Ajman 2 new schools open (Woodlem Park International School and City School)

GEMS Education acquires Sharjah’s Wesgreen School

Sharjah Education Zone begins inspecting schools using the new inspection framework

Exam Results

The UAE's 2017 GCSE Results are…

The UK’s average A* to C passes is 66.1%, although in the UAE, the average is 73%

The UAE’s top GCSE A* to A performers in 2017 are:

A Levels in 2017

The UK’s A* to A average is 26.3%, while the UAE’s top schools recorded an average of 44.5%

The UAE’s Top A Level Performers A* to A are…

IB Diploma Results 2017

The UAE’s Top Scorers are…

CBSE Grade 12 Exam Topper

The Indian High School with a 100% pass rate

What’s in store for 2018?

The results of the first-ever Dubai Student Wellbeing Census will be out.

Polling 70,000 students in grades six to nine, the census will reveal their concerns and aspirations at school, bullying issues, how they spend time with family at home and engagement with friends.

In February Education Cost Index will be announced.

In March/April expect Dubai's latest inspection results, and the latest round of school fee increases.

ADEK will continue to release its inspection reports through the year...

September will see a host of new schools opening including Dunecrest, Fairgreen, The Arbor School, Brighton College Dubai, Dwight School. [Watch this space for the 2018/19 new school article - in progress!]. Expect outrage over the level of fees being asked, even as most schools get realistic and adjust to a sensitized post VAT world.

Latest UAE articles

School Uniforms: The Good, Bad and The Pricey!

At, we know that there are a couple of topics that will have UAE p…


Thank you! Schools Praise Their 'Unsung Heroes'

Lifeguards, bus drivers, bus attendants, nurses, canteen staff, cleaners, security guards…

School Performance

Cognita Acquires Ranches Primary School

The acquisition by Cognita of Ranches Primary School follows that of Horizon English Sc…


PCR for Worried Kids: Where, Why, How Much

Children and adults across the UAE can now count PCR testing as part of their regular hea…


Part Time Jobs on Horizon for Dubai Teens

The UAE’s teenagers will soon be able to take on paid employment alongside their st…


Parents Fume as Bus Journey Times Jump

Parents from a number of UAE schools have expressed frustration at the length of time the…

New Schools

New French School Opens in Meydan

Lycée Libanais Francophone Privé – Meydan has opened a new campus, …


Back to School 2021: In Pictures!

After a long summer break, UAE schools have reopened for the 2021-22 academic year and in…

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All