Education System in UAE

Education System in UAE

The education system in UAE is a dynamic and evolving landscape that has witnessed remarkable transformations over the years. With a strong commitment to providing accessible and high-quality education for its citizens, the UAE has developed a system that encompasses a wide range of educational opportunities, from early childhood to higher education.

Education system in UAE, is accessible to all Emirati citizens from primary and secondary levels to higher education. Various educational authorities, including the Ministry of Education, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC), and educational zones in other emirates, oversee the implementation of government reforms and uphold quality standards.

Currently, compulsory education is mandated for all children between the ages of 6 and 18. After completing this phase, students have the option to pursue secondary education to prepare for higher education.

Education System in UAE


The Ministry of Education is responsible for managing and supervising adult education programs, general education, and literacy initiatives. The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research is in charge of overseeing higher education. Special education schools fall under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Educational History of the United Arab Emirates

The roots of education in the United Arab Emirates date back to the earliest civilizations when it was primarily viewed as a personal endeavor. Over time, the educational landscape evolved from a traditional, individual experience to a structured system rooted in well-studied curricula and subjects. The development of education in the UAE can be categorized into four distinct phases. These include:

Type 1: Informal Education – Mutawwa

In the earliest phase of educational development, known as “Mutawwa,” informal education was prevalent. Here, seasoned male and female teachers, referred to as “mutawwa,” played a pivotal role in the teaching process. These dedicated educators covered a wide range of subjects while following an informal approach. However, this informal educational system was eventually superseded by a more structured schooling system.

Type 2: Scientific Circle Education

The “Scientific Circle Education” was practiced by a select group of specialists, scientists, and academics who possessed extensive knowledge in subjects such as grammar, religious studies, and history. This unique form of education occurred in the corners of mosques or private settings. However, as education progressed, it eventually gave way to the modern education system.

Type 3: Advancing Education or Partially Structured Education

Between 1907 and 1953, a significant shift in education occurred in the UAE known as “advancing education.” This change was greatly influenced by Arabian reforms. Pearl merchants, often referred to as “tawaweesh,” took the initiative to establish schools in cities where education was overseen by specialists and intellectuals.

In 1907, the first advanced school, Taimia Mahmoudia, was founded in Sharjah. Subsequently, in 1935, a school focused on reforming education was established. One of the most renowned schools, Al Ahmadia, was founded in Dubai in 1912, followed by branches in Salmia in 1923, Alsada in 1925, and Al Falah in 1926. This period marked a significant turning point in the development of education in the UAE, with a notable milestone being the establishment of the Knowledge Department in 1936.

In 1953, the Al Qassemia Reformation School was established, featuring a unique curriculum that played a pivotal role in educational advancement. Al Qassemia was notably the first systematically organized school in Sharjah, UAE, marking a substantial step forward in the evolution of the educational system.

Type 4: Modern Organized Education

The fourth stage of educational progress started when Al Qassemia School was established in the years 1953-1954 in Sharjah, UAE. This marked the beginning of formal education in the UAE. This form of education evolved in two key phases:

The first phase was overseen by local government and knowledge departments, which were established in the 1960s. The second phase commenced on December 2, 1971, managed by the Federal Ministry of Education and local ministries, responsible for educational matters. During this period, public schools were constructed following contemporary standards, with a focus on enhancing literacy rates.

Education System in UAE

Understanding Education System in UAE

Education System in UAE is as follows…

Public Education in the UAE

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), public education is provided free of charge to all citizens up to the higher education level. Non-UAE citizens may attend government schools, but they are required to pay fees.

Preschool Education - Kindergarten

Preschool education in the UAE lasts for two years and is open to children from the age of 4. It’s important to note that attending preschool is not compulsory.

Compulsory Education

Schooling in the UAE is mandatory for children between the ages of 6 and 18.

Basic Education

Basic education encompasses both primary and preparatory education and is mandatory for all students.

Primary Education/Elementary Education

Primary education covers six years, including grades 1 to 5, focusing on building fundamental skills and knowledge in students. It’s for children aged 6 to 12.

Preparatory Education

Preparatory education covers grades 6 to 9 and is provided by preparatory schools. This level of education prepares students for general or technical secondary education. It’s for children aged 12 to 15.

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General Secondary Education

General secondary education includes grades 10, 11, and 12. It begins with a common first year followed by specialization in either Science or Arts. At the end of the twelfth year, students must pass an examination to receive the secondary school leaving certificate (Shahadat Al-Thanawiya Al-Amma). This stage is for students aged 15 to 18.

Technical Secondary Education

Technical secondary education offers both preparatory and secondary cycles. The preparatory cycle includes an Engineering course that leads to the Intermediate Certificate. Technical secondary education has three major streams: Technical, Agricultural, and Commercial. Upon completing the technical-secondary cycle, students are awarded a Technical Secondary Diploma.

Higher Education

Higher education in the UAE is available at universities, higher colleges of technology (HCT), and other higher education institutes. The country has numerous public and private higher education institutions.

Adult Education

The UAE places a strong emphasis on adult education. The government conducts programs to eradicate illiteracy, and the Women’s Federation society plays a role in these efforts.

Special Education - Children With Special Needs

The UAE government is committed to supporting students with special needs. A dedicated department within the Ministry of Education serves these children, empowering them with knowledge. The UAE has also signed the optional protocol to the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Efforts are made to improve facilities for special needs children and integrate them into mainstream educational settings.

Centers managed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs cater to individuals with hearing and physical disabilities, the visually impaired, and others with special needs.


In conclusion, the education system in UAE plays a crucial role in shaping the future of its citizens. The UAE’s commitment to providing a robust education system is evident in its continuous efforts to enhance learning opportunities for students. With a focus on innovation and modernization, the education system in UAE is adapting to meet the evolving needs of a globalized world.

The government’s investments in education infrastructure and resources underscore the significance placed on fostering a knowledge-based society. Moreover, the education system in UAE aims to empower students with the skills and knowledge necessary for success in various fields.

In summary, the education system in UAE is a key driver of societal progress, emphasizing the nation’s dedication to nurturing a well-educated and skilled workforce. As the UAE continues to advance its education initiatives, it solidifies its position as a leader in providing quality education that prepares individuals for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.