Are you considering a move to the UAE and curious about the education system your children will enter?

Don’t worry!

This article will demystify the UAE’s well-orchestrated education journey that offers quality learning experiences from preschool to high school.

We’ll delve into each school stage, grading methods, vacation periods, and more.

Because as we all know, a quality education is the best investment for a child’s future. Ready to explore the UAE’s educational landscape?

Let’s dive in!

Preschool System

UAE Preschool

In the UAE, there are two types of systems.

One is public preschool systems, while some are private organizations. These schools take in children between the ages of 3 to 5 to give them a primary education

These schools work by imparting knowledge through a series of play-based activities to develop the children’s social, emotional, intelligence, cognitive, and physical skills. 

This time is significant for children as it is their first step and interaction with people other than their immediate family members and hence sets the pace for the next few years of learning and understanding. 

There is a wide variety of education systems that one can choose from in the preschool system.

If you decide to go the private way for a preschool, then your child will be acquainted with either Montessori or Reggio Emilia’s teaching methods.

However, some different private preschool systems also offer international courses and follow an international curriculum, like Early Years Foundation Stage, which is offered in the UK, or the more globally recognized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP). 

Primary School System

UAE Primary School

The primary school system is a must-have for children between the ages of 6 to 11.

The primary schools in the UAE are more focused on developing the numerical and literacy side of things.

More often, some of the best primary school systems will focus on social skills as well and will work extra hard to polish them. 

As we saw with preschools, there are both private and public primary school systems.

However, private ones are regarded highly due to quality education. Moreover, the medium of communication in most primary school systems is either Arabic or English

Primary school education in the UAE is regulated by the government and there is a national curriculum that is followed throughout the country by both private and public universities.

The government has set the standards for curriculum, teaching methodology, assessment criteria, and evaluations. The government and the education ministry play a crucial part in developing the primary education system, and hence it is very well regulated

Just like preschool systems, primary school systems fall under private and public categories.

Primary schools have a choice to teach the given curriculum, which is formulated by the government, or follow international curriculums like International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP), the British National Curriculum, or the American Common Core Standards

Secondary School System

The UAE Education System 1

Secondary school systems are the time period in a child’s life when things are getting serious, and children are growing up. Hence, advanced knowledge, smooth systems, and systematic learning are essential. 

The secondary school system in the UAE is divided into lower secondary and higher secondary schools.

A student shall stay in the secondary school system from the age of 12 till the age of 18.

From 12 to 16 years of age, the children will be a part of the lower secondary school system, and after that, in the last two years, between the ages of 16 to 18, the children will be promoted to upper secondary school. 

In this period, the focus of the teachers as well as the design of the curriculum is on Arabic, Islamic Education, English, Math, Science, and Social Studies

Moreover, the government plays a vital role at this stage as well since they design the whole curriculum, teaching methods, assessment, and evaluation.

However, just like at every stage of learning, the government has allowed secondary schools to pursue and teach international-level curriculums as well, such as the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP), the British A-Level, or the American High School Diploma

After their completion of studies, many students prefer studying abroad for their universities, and hence after successful completion of high school education, many students leave the United Arab Emirates in pursuit of a better educational experience. 

UAE School Year And Vacation Periods

The UAE school year runs from September to June, which means that there are vacations from July to August

Usually, the academic year is divided into three terms, and there is a small break after every term as well.

The first term starts in early September and lasts until mid-December. There is a break for Eid ul Azha during this time for a period of two weeks.

The second term starts from January till mid-March, which again includes a two-week break in February for various national days.

The third and last break last from early April till mid-June, followed by the two-month vacation in July.

This means that there is a lot of rest and breaks in the academic year to minimize the burden on students.

Grading System In UAE Schools

The grading system in UAE schools is based on a 100-point scale.

The passing grade is 50%, and the highest grade is 100%.

Grades are usually given as percentages, with letter grades also used for secondary and high schools.

A grade point average (GPA) is calculated for each student based on their grades, and this is used to determine their academic standing.

This GPA is one of the best measures of education for educationalists, teachers, and students to judge the capabilities of a student, and these play an essential role in securing future admissions and jobs as well. 

The UAE Education System 2

Facts About UAE Schools

Here Are Some Interesting Facts About UAE Schools

  • The UAE has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, with 94% of the population being literate.
  • The UAE is home to some of the best international schools in the world, offering a variety of curricula.
  • The UAE has a large number of private schools which offer high-quality education to students.
  • The UAE is home to a number of universities, including some of the best in the Middle East, such as the United Arab Emirates University, Zayed University, and the American University of Sharjah.
  • Education is highly valued in the UAE, and the government has invested heavily in education to ensure that all children have access to quality education.


In conclusion, the UAE’s education system stands as a beacon of quality and comprehensive learning, attracting expats worldwide.

From its meticulous organization to its adherence to international standards, UAE schools strive to enhance students’ knowledge and skills across diverse subjects.

But wait, there’s more!

Their grading system is fair and straightforward, and the academic year is structured with student welfare in mind.

For those pondering a move to the UAE, the education system is a compelling attraction.

With an array of curricula to choose from and an unwavering commitment to providing quality education, UAE truly caters to the educational needs of every child.

The high literacy rate and the presence of world-renowned international schools and universities cement UAE’s position as an educational hub.

So, if you’re looking for an education system that equips your child for global success, the UAE ticks all the boxes.

It’s not just an education, it’s a launchpad to a successful future.