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Wed 21 Mar 2012 09:49 AM

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School places high on agenda for UAE expats

Local demand for international schools is pushing out expats

School places high on agenda for UAE expats
Many parents considering a move to the UAE are now more concerned with finding school places.

The availability of school places in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is
becoming increasingly important to expat families in those cities, as competition heats up
for space at international institutions.

The findings of a study published by UK-based ISC
Research said many parents considering a move to the UAE are now more concerned
with finding school places for their children than they are about the salaries they earn.

Data published by the body also revealed that expat students were facing competition from local families, many of whom now see value in Western education.

“Many relocating expats with families are now demanding
security of their school places before accepting new placements,” said

“In certain locations, it is the availability of good school
places that is driving job decisions by expats rather than salaries and

Around the world, ISC says, 80 percent of students at
international schools are local children.

The latest figures also show that the total number of children
attending the world’s international schools has passed 3m.

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John 7 years ago

Nothing surprising, the children of a nation have first right to its eduucational institutions before others

Billy 7 years ago

Agreed if the educational institutions are provided by the government, if they are a private institution then no such right should exist.

Lizzi 7 years ago

I don't think thats the fundumental question of this article.
Obviously locals have just the same right as expats moving to the UAE to attend good schools. However from an expatriate perspective, i wouldn't move to the UAE, if my children weren't guaranteed international schooling, with a western educational system. I myself would want security my child was guaranteed a place, which is ever more difficult with such demand. With this problem, the only solution is simple economics- open more schools. Which will also drive the excessive prices the schools charge anyway. Benefits all round.

SAM 7 years ago

This is very true. As a parent who moved to Dubai from North America almost a decade ago, the availability of reputable schools that are recognized internationally was the most important criteria for accepting employment overseas. I am fortunate however, since I did not have to make my decision due to financial hardship or lack of employment opportunities.

Amused in Dubai 7 years ago

Hi Lizzi, this country is in two minds about the whole expat issue
-On one hand locals will complain about having too many expats, but that is the number required to keep their country working (lets not get started on the skill/willingness to work topic)
-They will complain about the poor quality of many expats (certainly true) and at the same time will start with the "airport road " discourse without understanding that any place willing to attract a foot-loose elite better offers something really good (and yes education is a key topic)
-They will remind us of our temporary status and then complain that expats are here only for the quick buck making no long-term investments/hiring
This in part reflects the tension between the need to move the country forward in terms of economic development, with all the implications it may have and the weight of the old sectors (government, oil, and Government linked companies) and in part the unique demographic composition of the place.