Global Indian International School Dubai opened pre-KG, KG1 and KG2 in September 2017 in Al Barsha South, prior to opening for its first full academic year in April 2018. In February 2021, the school announced its relocation to Meydan Street in time for the start of the April 2021 academic year. It is currently open to Grade 11.
The Global Indian International School group (GIIS) has grown to comprise an international network of 23 campuses in seven countries since it was founded in 2002. Today it educates some 15,000 students.
The Dubai branch of the school opened in September 2017 offering pre-KG and KG grades only prior to opening the remainder of the Primary section in April 2018. It opened Grade 11 in April 2022.
Parents who have completed the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com survey have been overwhelming positive about GIIS Dubai, with 89% saying that they would recommend the school to other parents. At the time of writing, GIIS was rated no.8 in the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Best Indian Schools in Dubai and no. 6 in Best CBSE Schools in Dubai as rated by parents.
Comments that have been made as part of the survey, and which are reflective of almost all feedback we have received include:
"Amazing teachers. Kids love the school and the teachers. It encourages them to go to school daily and enjoy while learning"
"GIIS is the perfect school if parents want all round development of their kids."
"Multidisplinary school with a lot of facilities, teachers are very supportive."
"Experience with GIIS has been great. I have no weakness to mention."
In February 2021, the GIIS Dubai announced that its relocation from its Al Barsha South site to the premises formally occupied by Safa British School on Meydan Street, Al Qouz. This makes the school location very much more central to the more traditional residential areas along Sheikh Zayed Road, though for those living closer to the original site, this may not be so convenient. The relocation took place in time for the start of the new academic year in April 2021.
According to the school's announcement, several state-of-the-art upgrades were planned and have been set up in the new campus for all grades. With more outdoor learning spaces and expanded STREAM (Research based) areas, GIIS aims to give children more opportunities and room to learn, grow, and thrive. A petting zoo that will help children develop non-verbal communication, compassion, and empathy through their interaction with animals at a young age is among the new initiatives.
At that time, then Principal Ramesh Mudgal, announcing the relocation said, "We are excited to see our students, teachers, and staff reap the benefits of the upgraded facility as we move into our new campus later this year. It will honour our cultural diversity and expand our scope of providing holistic education as we empower our students and families to learn, grow and succeed together.”
GIIS announced a change of leadership at the school for the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
The school is now led by Mr. Antony Koshy. In a statement released by the school in May 2021, the school informed us that Mr. Koshy brings with him over 27 years of rich experience of almost three decades in the education sector. Prior to his current role, he served in various leadership positions and as a mathematics teacher in prestigious schools across Dubai and India.
According to GIIS, "an expert in science and technology, Mr. Koshy’s passion for futuristic education will contribute well to the growth of GIIS Dubai’s teaching practices. As someone who prioritises inclusive education, he makes an ideal fit for GIIS where nurturing well-rounded, emotionally intelligent global citizens is one of the main objectives. He is a technology aficionado and strongly advocates using technology in classrooms to enhance and enrich the learning process."
GIIS Dubai began its operation as a mixed-gender school for Pre-KG, KG 1 and KG 2 aged children only, prior to opening the Primary section in advance of the 2018-19 academic year. At the end of February 2022, there are around 770 children at the school. A teacher plus teaching assistant is present in KG to Grade 2 classes. The total capacity of the school is 2,200. Every year an additional grade has been added, with the school opening Grade 12 in April 2023. Special classes may be organised on Saturdays for Grade 9 and above as and when needed.
Students are taught by a team of 43 teachers, who are supported by a further 14 teaching assistants. The vast majority of staff are Indian nationals. With a teacher:student ratio of 1:16, class sizes are relatively low. If there is a concern, it may be that teacher turnover was 30% in 2021-22, although this raw figure may fail to take into account additional teachers who have joined the school as new classes and grades are opened.
The school launched Grade 11 in April 2022, thus being only one year away from offering the full K-12 curriculum. Although originally GIIS announced that it would offer the IB Diploma Programme for Grades 11 and 12, it has since informed WhichSchoolAdvisor that the IB curriculum will be introduced 'at a later stage'. There is no longer any mention of this intention on the school website and we assume that it has been discounted as an option.
GIIS Dubai is authorised to offer dual curricula, a relatively new development for Indian curriculum schools globally. It offers the in-house “Montessori Plus” curriculum that aims to blend the best of teaching and learning practices within a Montessori (child-led) environment.
The Primary and Middle school sections (from Grade 1 to Grade 9) offer a mixed curriculum, based on CBSE, but incorporating content and delivery based on the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) and the UK National curriculum, both of which encourage an enquiry-based approach usually taught around themes, rather than individual subjects. Grades 11 and 12 offers the CBSE XII standard exams.
In the KG grades, the school applies a blend of Montessori and the UK-based Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum which is largely play-based. Although there is a focus on writing (an absolute expectation of most Indian families), children are encouraged to participate in free-play, to develop their Hand-Eye coordination through use of the Montessori lab and the Kiddy Gym and to develop their literacy through a "learning through play" approach. KG children also have access to a Steam Lab, where they are able to carry out simple scientific experiments. GIIS feels that this approach provides children with the ability to learn in the way in which it suits them best individually and is motivating for both staff and students. The school also offers a Daycare facility for KG children who may have older siblings in school.
As the school develops, there will also be an increasing focus on the use of technology, with the inclusion of a Robotics/Maker-space (part of the core curriculum) and the use of a 3D studio showing content to reinforce the subjects learned in the classroom. Webinars (online seminars) with other GIIS campuses will take place and the school intends to take advantage of the technology available to students, including i-Pads and an AI room which is being developed with a leading Indian AI university. Each classroom is equipped with 180cm wide touch screen interactive boards, and the school offers Computer Science labs, the Tech Immersion & Maker Space lab and Science laboratories.
With technology being seen as one of the most important skill sets, GIIS offers a Microsoft IT Academy to give students the leading edge in technology learning. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education is carefully integrated throughout the GIIS curriculum with the goal of providing students with a deeper understanding and hands-on learning. GIIS has partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. to provide teachers and students with access to 45 volumes of the Britannica Series, along with 11 CDs and 34 e-books.
In addition to the strictly academic, a major focus of the GIIS schools is the Nine Gems™ educational framework, which is based on the importance of providing a rounded education to students. The 9 Gems are defined as Academic Excellence, Personality Development, Universal Values & Ethics, Sports Excellence, Creativity & Innovation, Community & Care, Visual & Performing Arts, Entrepreneurship & Leadership and Skill Development.
GIIS aims to ensure that these values and experiences are included throughout the curriculum and studies. Students are taught the importance of academic excellence while simultaneously learning universal values, ethics, discipline, creativity, and personality development. In Secondary and High school, the GIIS curricula prioritise academic achievement, leadership, and entrepreneurial skills, along with key competencies for vocational and career progression. Critical thinking, interdisciplinary thinking, problem solving, and conflict resolution are all part of the “big picture” of GIIS’s definition of a holistic education.
As part of the goal of creating well-rounded individuals, Extra-curricular activities are a key part of the Nine Gems programme. They are often sports-based, taking place outside of the classroom, with the aim of helping students develop their personalities and physical aptitude. Students who show particular talent in these extracurricular activities may be invited to participate in the Gold Squad Programme, which provides additional, intensive training under specialist coaches.
In addition, Co-curricular activities aim to take what students are learning in the classroom and build upon that through talent shows, performances, competitions, clubs and additional classroom work. Co-curricular activities, which tend to be more creative in nature, will include Contemporary Vocal and Instrumental music, Classical and Contemporary dances, Creative Arts – Drawing, Painting, Handicrafts and sculpture and Digital arts, as well as Event management and Movie Making. There is also a strong focus on the environment through the I-care programme which exposes students to Organic Gardening and Aquaponics.
At the time of the first KHDA inspection which took place in February 2022, following the hiatus on inspections during the Covid 19 pandemic, there were 69 students of Determination registered with the school - so close to 10% of entire roll. According to the inspection report, "Students of determination, and those with particular gifts and talents, are identified. Most of their needs are met effectively, especially in the Kindergarten." The Provision and Outcomes for students of Determination was given an overall rating of Good.
The first cohort of Grade 10 CBSE students completed their examinations in March 2022. The results were released in July. GIIS Dubai did provide details of the overall pass rate at 100%, but did not confirm awards by divisions or student numbers. Toppers were Darshit Tarun Kumar with an overall score of 97.2% and Tawish Ragdeep with 90%.
We would hope that the school will be more transparent with its results' reporting going forward. Toppers alone make up a small proportion of any cohort and it is simply not possible to judge a school's achievement for all its students based on these details alone. Where there is no information about the number of students or their successes across the divisions, it is not possible to see the full picture. Although exam results are not the most important part of an education, they are certainly an important measure of delivery by a school.
As would be expected, the campus is well-equipped with state of the art infrastructure to facilitate academic and co-curricular activities, including outdoor grounds for sports and extra-curricular activities, a multi-purpose auditorium, high-tech video conferencing facilities and a well-resourced library. Specialist facilities include an Immersion Center, GCIE - Robotics and Maker Space, Computer Science labs, Art Studio, Music studio, Nikon Studio, and Science laboratories,
GIIS was due to have its first KHDA inspection in the 2019-20 academic year. However, this was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closure of schools in March. The school was subject to a Distance Learning Evaluation carried out in April-May 2020 and overall achieved the highest Developed rating - with 10 of the 13 judgments achieving this rating. Read the report here.
After the postponement of the inspection until February 2022, GIIS appears to have acquitted itself well, achieving an overall rating of Good - the highest overall rating to be awarded by the DSIB inspectors to new schools.
It is evident that the strength of the school, in terms of its overall performance, lies within the KG section, which received entirely Very Good ratings across all key performance standards.
In terms of the remainder of the school, with exception of Arabic as a Second language and Islamic Education (largely rated Acceptable), every other performance measure was rated at least Good. This is a considerable achievement.
Inspectors were particularly impressed by Students' Personal Development (rated Outstanding in KG and Very Good across the remainder of the school), and their Understanding of Islamic values and awareness of Emirati and world cultures, together with the Social Development and Innovation skills - all of which were rated Very Good. In addition, the adaptation of the curriculum to meet students' individual learning needs was also rated Very Good.
The inspection team identified the strengths of GIIS Dubai as:
In terms of areas for improvement, the inspectors recommended that GIIS:
If you would like to read the full inspection report - and we strongly recommend that you do so in order to understand the reasons behind the ratings - you will find it here.
The WhichSchoolAdvisor Parent Survey has received a relatively limited number of responses from parents, but so satisfied are those parents with their choice of GIIS, that the school is currently rated no. 2 by parents for Indian Curriculum schools in Dubai. The full list - which is a dynamic listing based on survey responses from parents - can found here.
Parents told us that the majority of children (70%) enjoy going to school a tremendous amount (the UAE average is 54%), and have a strong sense of belonging to the school. Over half of the parents had made a deliberate decision to move their child from another school in Dubai to attend GIIS. 85% of parents are so satisfied with their experience todate that they have never considered moving their child to another school (compared with 73% UAE-wide), and almost 90% are fully satisfied with the level of academic performance of the school, with only 5% expressing dissatisfaction (representing one parent). Parents are similarly impressed with feedback from the school and its disciplinary policy and implementation.
The two key measures from our survey which often speak to the overall level of satisfaction of parents also received highly positive outcomes. 89% of respondents would recommend GIIS to other parents and 85% believe that the fees they pay represent Good value for money - the remaining 15% partially agreed with this statement.
If you are a parent, teacher or student at GIIS Dubai and would like to share your experience and opinions with other potential members of your community, please do complete our Survey.
GIIS is not new to the UAE, with an Abu Dhabi school having opened in 2017. It is probably the largest International group offering the Indian curriculum to have set up in the UAE and should, based on its history and experience, presumably be an attractive option for parents. Interestingly, however, the group was founded in Singapore, only subsequently expanding to India.
It is clear that both schools have been successful in establishing themselves with both parents and the regulators. GIIS had identified that there was a gap in the market for a mid-range school in terms of fees and facilities. Whether their delivery is sufficient to warrant their mid-range fees in a market where there are numerous relatively affordable CBSE schools remains to be seen. The original intention to offer the IBDP might have justified this; it is not clear how the school is differentiating itself now that this proposition appears to have disappeared.
The annual fees for the Dubai campus start at AED 16,500 for KG and rise to AED 34,000 for Grade 10. Fees for the recently opened Grade 11 are AED 38,824 - quite a steep jump over the Grade 10 figure. There are a number of additional annually recurring fees which will need to be added to the tuition, including books (AED 600), Uniform (AED 600) and an optional ICT resources fee (AED 600).
There is also a one-off Admission fee of AED 1,000 on acceptance. It will be interesting to see if parents are prepared to "trade up" to take advantage of this new offering.
Global Indian International School Dubai is a Best of school, a ranking determined by parent surveys on the site. It can be found in the following Best of rankings:
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