With around 1,262 private and public schools, UAE has one of the highest numbers of international schools in the region. Among these are more than 150 Indian schools, affiliated to various statutory boards in India, operating across the UAE, constituting up to 27% of the student population. These Indian schools are the pathway for tens of thousands of NRI students to pursue their dreams in higher education and enroll in top universities and colleges worldwide.
The pioneer of providing the Indian Curriculum of education to NRI students in UAE was MaghanmalPancholia, who started the first Indian school – the Indian High School (IHS) nearly 60 years ago, in Dubai in 1961. A multi-millionaire and philanthropist now in his mid-90s, Pancholia started the IHS with just nine students using the plot granted to him by the late Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and started operating in a small way as a makeshift institution out of villas.
Today, IHS is one of the leading institutions in the UAE and has been accredited ‘Outstanding’ by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Government of Dubai. It is permanently affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), New Delhi.
CBSE is one of the most popular programmes for NRI students in the UAE. According to the Consulate General of India in Dubai, 72 out of the more than 80 schools functioning with the Indian Curriculum follow the CBSE syllabus, with over 14,000 students sitting for class 10 and 12 exams each year. While four follow the ICSE curriculum offered by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), seven others follow the Kerala State Board. Three of the seven schools offering the Kerala curriculum also offer the CBSE one. The CBSE prepares students for the All India CBSE Secondary Schools Examination at age 16 (end of grade 10) and the All India Senior School Certificate Examination at age 18 (end of grade 12).
Higher education in the UAE is also a viable option for many students who graduate out of class 12. They can apply for the 40 odd universities that are listed with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority Dubai (KHDA) and the 76 institutes and universities that are accredited with the Commission of Academic Accreditation (CAA), Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi. The students also have the option to opt for leading universities in India with offshore campuses such as BITS Pilani, Amity University, Manipal University etc. which are approved by India’s University Grants Commission (UGC) – in Dubai, while the CAA accredits the Institute of Management Technology (IMT). As Indian schools in the UAE prepare thousands of students to face the competition worldwide, we realise how UAE is government is fulfilling its dream of providing a first-rate education system which is the pillar of the National Agenda in line with Vision 2021 by taking care of its migrant population.