United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Nad al Sheba / GEMS Modern Academy

GEMS Modern Academy Review

An all through school GEMS Modern Academy, previously, Dubai Modern High School, looks after children from four to 18 years of age. The school is only one of two Indian schools to be ranked Outstanding by the KHDA (the other being The Indian High School). Dubai Modern High School is a GEMS Education school.
GEMS Modern Academy
First Published: Wednesday 17 October, 2012
Updated: Sunday 10 December, 2017
  • School Type
    All Through
    Inspection Rating
  • Curricula Taught
    Year Opened
    Annual Fees
    AED 28,065 - 51,364
    Annual Fee Average
    AED 42,000
    School Year
    Apr to Mar
    Ms. Nargish Khambatta
    GEMS Education
    Main Teacher Nationality
    Main Student Nationality

An all through school GEMS Modern Academy, previously, Dubai Modern High School, looks after children from four to 18 years of age. The school is only one of two Indian schools to be ranked Outstanding by the KHDA (the other being The Indian High School). Dubai Modern High School is a GEMS Education school.

First Published: Wednesday 17 October, 2012
Updated: Sunday 10 December, 2017

NOTE: OUTSTANDING ranked schools do not have an updated KHDA report for the 2016-2017 school year. 

The Story So Far

GEMS Modern Academy was originally located in the Karama area of Dubai. It opened with 200 students in 1986 but grew rapidly firstly after its move to a campus located near the Mazaya Centre just off Sheikh Zayed Road, and most recently to Nad Al Sheba where it now based.

What are the Stats? 

GEMS Modern Academy is currently home to over 3741 students (up 1000 in two years, and almost 1,500 in three years) with 228 teachers and 68 support teachers. Teacher turnover is 11%, low for the UAE, but more in line with Indian schools that suffer less from teacher attrition. The teacher to student ratio is a 1:17 - mid to low for an Indian curriculum school.

The school follows the Indian ICSE curriculum with the IB Diploma offered for the post 16 phase. GEMS Modern has offered the IB DP since 2014, and the curricula makes some sense with the ICSE, certainly more so than with the CBSE which is less broad based.

What do the Inspectors Say? 

According to the Dubai regulator, Dubai Modern High School provides an Outstanding quality of education, with attainment and progress across age groups (Primary, Middle and Secondary) ranked Outstanding for English, Maths and Science. Islamic Education and Arabic as a second language fall a little behind standard set elsewhere. Islamic education is rated Good, while Arabic is Good in Primary and Middle school, and Acceptable at Secondary level.Outstanding leadership is noted by the KHDA.

How Well do the Students do? 

As with other GEMS Education schools, Dubai Modern also aims to develop the person as well as the student, acknowledged by the KHDA which notes the school produces well rounded and confident individuals, as well as fostering talent at the school. In their most recent report (2016) inspectors note "very high levels of attention were given to each student in both the personal and academic fields.

Caption: Dubai Modern Academy's version of Matilda. We're not theatre critics, but we think it's a bit wow...

This is important. Previous feedback from parents to WhichSchoolAdvisor.com had suggested too strong a focus on the academic over the 'human'. GEMS Modern seems to have taken this on board and acted upon it.

While GEMS Education does not allow its schools to publish how well it does (or does not) do in external examinations, some clue that GEMS Modern does well is given by the note by the KHDA that "performance on external examinations and outstanding academic achievement allowed students to pursue their personal aspirations and career goals..."

For exam results, for the the 2015-2016 ISC and ISCE results are posted on the school's website. As the school notes, "57 percent of GEMS Modern Academy students received an aggregate of 90 percent or above in the ISC ( Grade 12 ) Examinations [and]GEMS Modern Academy students achieved a 100 percent pass rate in the ISC examinations." 

It would be interesting to see how well the school has fared at the IB, where a more international benchmark can be applied. If hard work is any indicator our guess is well: "The commitment of students and their dedication and devotion to the school made significant contributions to the dynamic learning environment," note inspectors.

Where do Students go? 

Dubai Modern does publish university destinations. By far the biggest destination is the United States, which receives more students from the school even than India. Destinations include Columbia, Northeastern, University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech, Wharton and Yale. The school also sends a significant number of good Redbrick universities in the UK. The US bent for school leavers supports as commonsense the switch away from to ISC to the IB DP as an examination that carries international weight.

GEMS Modern Academy's strong points clearly considerably outweigh the areas it needs to focus on. Students make outstanding progress in most key subjects, and the school serves as an example of parents as partners in their children’s learning. Students’ display excellent behaviour, "confidence, personal and social development and work ethic," and there is a high quality of teaching across almost all the school, and outstanding support for students with special educational needs (1 in 10 students has been identified as having some form of SEN requirement).

What are the Fees? 

Fees at Dubai Modern are relatively affordable for a GEMS school, ranging from 33,056 AED at KG1 rising to 49,011 AED at Grade 12. Compared to Indian curriculum schools, the fees are very, very top end. Compared to IB schools, they are in the Value range. 

A registration fee of AED 500 is due at the time of application. This fee is non-refundable and non-transferable - a practice which is increasingly raising concerns among parents.

When an offer of a seat in the school is extended, there is an additional fee of AED 1000 "needed to secure the seat". This again is non-refundable, but is adjustable against the first term's fees.

Tuition fees must be paid by the 10th of every month, and are collected in 10 installments except the months of July and August. 

What do the Parents Say? 

Few parents seem to be complaining overall. If you look at the feedback we have received in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey this is clearly a much loved school that is considered by parents to be performing well. All parents who responded would recommend the school to other parents, three-quarters of respondents say their child has a tremendous amount of belonging at the school. The other 25% say their children have "quite a bit" of belonging.

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10 Archived Comments
Archived 19th Jun 2016, 13:59

I studied in this school from Grade 4 to Grade 12. Apart from academics, what stands out in this school is the day boarding programme. Apart from the actual activity/sport that you learn in this programme, it teaches students to manage time and be involved in a number of activities and still not be left behind academically. This experience specially helped me in college where I could stay in college and work for extra curricular activities and still not worry that I have a test the next day or classes in the morning because I had learnt from school on how to plan these things in advance/deal with them as they come.

Archived 11th May 2016, 20:18

My child studied at GEMS Modern from KG through Year 12.

Children at Modern High are very well behaved. This is in sharp contrast to the kids at other schools especially Western schools which have a more "laissez faire" attitude to raising kids.

Birds of a feather flock together. Parents who expect their children to be academically focussed will choose Modern High.

Many of the teachers show amazing level of commitment considering how poorly paid they are both in isolation as well as compared to their peers at Western schools. There is no link between teachers salaries and their ability or commitment when one compares teacher pay across schools with high fees and low fees.

Note all teachers are competent. Sending our child for tuition [in a specific subject] resulted in the marks going from 50 to 95 which is where they stayed thereafter.

The school lays too much emphasis on academics. It is absolutely vital that the School encourage a base level of sport so that every child develops a sound body to house a sound mind. Not to forget the team building and leadership skills that sport provides.

Archived 17th Dec 2015, 21:42

I'm here to ask if this school accepts Arab/ Non- Indian students to be enrolled

Archived 17th Mar 2015, 09:07

The school info here needs to be updated. E.g Darryl Lancelot Bloud is no more the Principal now. It is Ms Nargish Khambatta.

Archived 17th Mar 2015, 14:04

This has been updated.

Archived 28th Nov 2014, 10:35

Hi: Can anybody provide me an insight into the admission tests for Grade 1 kids at Gems Modern Academy - What is the school looking for and what kind of questions/subjects does the kid need to prepare for. Thanks in advance to those who reply.

Archived 25th Oct 2014, 12:21

One of the top 3 Indian schools in Dubai, for sure.

Archived 9th Dec 2013, 13:44

Can we get some feed back about Gems Modern Academy!!!!

C Thomas
Archived 1st Sep 2014, 16:12

I have my child enrolled in this school. I have to say that although the ratings are excellent and the school seems structured, I find the teaching staff could be better and the focus should be on developing well rounded individuals. Teachers are given a target and that target soon becomes a problem for the parent if your child interferes with the 100% success rate and outstanding KHDA rating. I think the Indian curriculum is great, but we should focus on the joy of learning. If I could go back, I would have enrolled my child in another school

Archived 25th Oct 2014, 16:53

"becomes a problem for the parent if your child interferes with the 100% success rate"

That is always an issue with "for profit" schools.