United Arab Emirates / Dubai / Oud Metha / Indian High School Dubai

Indian High School Dubai Experience

Indian High School Dubai is a private K-12 school.occupying two campuses in the centre of the city.  After 5 years in a row of being rated Outstanding, the 'Old Dubai' Oud Metha branch of the school received a KHDA inspection rating of Very Good in the 2017/18 inspection round, which it has retained in subsequent inspections. The Garhoud located junior school has received a Good rating in the 2022-23 inspection.
Parents' Rating
4.1 out of 5 based on 80 reviews
At a glance
School type
School phase
All through
Inspection rating
Very good
Curricula taught
Availability 2022/23
Availability 2023/24
Annual fee average
AED 7,900
Annual fees
AED 5,525–10,465
Price band help
Opening year
School year
Apr to Mar
Teacher turnover help
Ms Mala Mehra
Main teacher nationality
Main student nationality

Nearby nurseries

0.6km • EYFS curriculum
1km • EYFS curriculum
1.5km • EYFS curriculum
1.9km • Montessori curriculum
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One of Dubai’s most in-demand schools, The Indian High School, sets and meets ambitious academic standards for all of its pupils.  Led by an active, highly experienced and respected Head, the school has the feeling of an extremely well-run, well-loved establishment which has nurtured very strong links with Dubai’s Indian community. 


The Beginnings

The Indian High School (IHS) in Oud Metha is housed in a 1960s-style beige, block building with long windows and dark red painted detail (see WSA Oud Metha guide). There are lots of colourful educational themed mosaics decorating the front walls along with several sculptures. We were greeted by security and in reception by Smristi Shaekhawat, the school’s liaison representative who was our guide. 

We began our interviews with a discussion with Dr Ashok Kumar who has been the school’s CEO for an incredible 22 years.  He came from a career at the Tata car company and had been involved in setting up the factory’s schools. He described the link between the school for staff’s children and the factory as ‘honest and integrated’.  When he arrived in Dubai his aim was to run this CBSE school and re-create that link between the community here. ‘To work with purpose and serve the residents of Dubai’ was his mission. 

Dr Kumar is a gentle, wise, experienced and modest gentleman who puts the success of the school down to his young and vital team. He views the school’s community as a family of children and staff.  The school is in such demand that it has had to expand to satisfy the need.  Dr Kumar is adamant that ‘no students are left behind’. When asked what are some of the school’s greatest accomplishments he proudly explained that IHS produces the best students. 


Producing the Best Students 

This is their 30th year of graduation and around 400 students collect their diplomas each year.  An incredible 100% go to university with around 32% going to the USA, UK and Canada. 35% attend UAE universities and the remainder choose Indian universities.  Dr Kumar is understandably very proud of these successes and follows former pupils' careers with keen interest. 

It was excellent to hear how supportive the school is of some school leavers who are employed part-time at the establishment as classroom support, for example in the social media section while studying at UAE universities in the afternoons. 

The school’s approach to the child was described as ‘most definitely holistic’. Dr Kumar repeated that no child should be left out. He underlined the support for those children who may need additional academic support and gave the example of one child who was falling behind but was given one to one tutoring after school and is now achieving excellent results. 

When we asked Dr Kumar what challenges the school faces he replied ‘none’! He is a leader who clearly appoints well, encourages teamwork and feels that any challenge that does crop up is swiftly dealt with by his staff.  Homework is an important part of life at IHS but students are extremely well motivated and ambitious. 


Entrance by Lottery

There is no entrance exam to acquire a place at this very popular school but instead they conduct a lottery. This is run exclusively by an experienced group of parents who ensure the system is open and fair. There are 900 available places at KG level and around 4,000 applicants. There is an open door policy for those lucky enough to secure a place and no other vetting takes place.  Scholarships are on offer for a select few in sport, music etc. or where there are clear financial issues. 1.5 million dirhams is available for these children every year. This is an initiative that other schools should take note of.

Pupils of teaching staff also receive a free place at the school.  Recruiting appears to be pretty easy for Dr Kumar as teachers just walk in to give their CVs. Otherwise they post jobs on their website; recruitment is generally from people already in Dubai. 

The staff are fully qualified according to strict KHDA requirements. CPD or INSET training is ongoing and staff receive 18 hours per year within the school. Dr Kumar described learning in IHS as both vertical and horizontal growth. This comes across as a really organic, smoothly run and supportive community. 

The CBSE curriculum is well-rounded and strong in all areas of arts, language, science etc. In what is no surprise, the KHDA have awarded an Outstanding ranking to the school and Dr Kumar feels that this is true of all areas of the school except for Arabic. Dr Kumar described every day as ‘special’ at IHS and feels that each child is important and the school is here to serve the community. 


Our Guided Tour

Ms Shaekhawat then gave us a guided tour of the school so we could observe a normal weekday at IHS.  Most of the students have their heads in books as exams were in progress throughout the school.  The overall visual impression as we explored the school was of colour – abstract Mondrian style windows and paintings created exciting decorations around a ‘happiness area’ where individually hand-painted benches were set up, all designed and signed by the pupils. 

There was also a suggestion box wall decorated with a tree with spiraled ropes and colourful bunting flags.  We were shown an immaculately tidy and well organized library. There were colour coded subject areas for the books and a special classroom dedicated to online Britannica learning.  Another room was used for the Desire programme, a system that encourages concentrated reading skills. The canteen we saw was well-designed and practical. We learned that pupils were encouraged to run a market programme where they routinely get involved in the sale of food and learn the business of marketing. 


Collaborating with Students 

They have a ‘Big Buzz’ enterprise where economics students work on creating advertisements and another where pupils’ music requests are played at break times. The school’s 1,600 plus auditorium is extremely impressive with its cool lighting, red, black and white colouring and very professional stage.  An aviary is built beside the front entrance where many birds live and are cared for by interested students. 

Building work is going on in part of the campus as a new classroom block is being constructed. We found out that from Grade 1 onwards children are taught in single sex classrooms.  We were then only able to see the art room as other classrooms were out of bounds due to the exams.  The art room, however, although empty of children was colourfully painted, neat and well organized. Painting, drawing and mixed media are included in this CBSE art programme but several IHS students go on to study design in the areas of graphics, fashion and interior design. 

Smriti began her career at IHS as a Grade 1 teacher but now works in the parent liaison field so has a through understanding of how the school runs. She’s also a parent so we were able to ask about a few practical details.  Smriti chose the school for her child because it was rated Outstanding; she had also heard good reports from others, wanted the CBSE curriculum and appreciated the good value fee system. She was most impressed by the teachers who she felt really care about their work; she feels that there is no issue too small to take to them.  She also felt very confident that her child was in safe hands.  The school’s biggest challenge she felt was space for the large community but this will soon be resolved when the new block is complete.

Practical for Parents

The level of homework she considered to be about right and not overwhelming.  The uniform is practical and provided by the Globe company close by.  The school is quite strict about wearing the correct uniform and that children look smart.  There is a good bus service for the community but around the school it does get busy at pick up and drop off times. Smriti feels the security team do a good job in taking care of this. 

As a parent she’s happy with the options for school trips, for example local field trips to Hatta or Muscat plus overseas trips such as the NASA excursion and visits to Greece and Georgia. 

There is a wide choice of clubs available to pupils using the excellent sports facilities with some great affordable coaching. A club has been set up to monitor and care for pupil fitness where they look at diet and devise appropriate exercise routines. There is a Parent’s Association group who contribute to the day to day running of the school and there are regular talks on parenting run by the school. 

Individual class teachers are always readily available if there is anything to be discussed. Parents between them use WhatsApp to communicate information quickly. Smriti is happy with the quality of food available in the canteen but here child generally brings in her own snackbox. As a parent she feels her child is challenged and is happy.

Learning support is available for those children who need that bit extra both before and after school.  Smriti feels education here is as good as in her home country, but kids here are lacking ‘a bit of streetwise experience’ as she feels Dubai is a more sheltered environment for children. 

She would describe the school to prospective parents as good value for money and as parents you feel part of the entire community. 

Generally we usually have an opportunity to speak to some students on a school visit but this wasn’t possible because exams were ongoing at the time of our visit. 

This school is in a Best School by parents ranking

Indian High 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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