United Arab Emirates: Regulating Private Schools In Dubai: A One-Stop Guide To Private Schools In Dubai

Executive Council Resolution No 2 of 2017 (the Resolution) Regulating Private Schools in the Emirate of Dubai (Dubai) was issued on 30 January 2017 and came into force on 1 March 2017. The Resolution establishes the legal and regulatory framework in respect of "academic and educational services provided by a private school in Dubai to students from the pre-school stage to the end of secondary education stage". The Resolution applies to schools (Schools) established 'onshore' in Dubai as well as in free zones in Dubai (including the Dubai International Financial Centre).

The Resolution grants the Knowledge & Human Development Authority (KHDA) broad powers to regulate Schools in Dubai and implement the regulations set out by the Resolution, including, issuing initial approvals, educational permits and licences and levying penalties.

Key objectives of the Resolution include the following:

  • Regulating the academic and educational process in Schools.
  • Raising the quality of education and improving the education environment in Schools.
  • Encouraging investment in the educational sector for Schools.

Key articles

The Resolution is another positive development that, we believe, will enhance the success of Schools in Dubai and will provide further comfort to students, parents, operators and investors. Some of the key articles set out in the Resolution include the following:

  • Shareholders as well as members of the board of directors of corporate shareholders in Schools must be of good standing.
  • Any change of ownership or change of the supervisor or principal of a School will require prior approval from the KHDA.
  • A School, which adopts a curriculum other than the public education curriculum in the United Arab Emirates, must include, in its academic curriculum, the subject of Islamic Studies as a mandatory subject for Muslim students, as well as the subject of Social Studies and the Arabic Language as mandatory subjects for all students. The KHDA will set out the minimum requirements for teaching such subjects.
  • The academic curriculum shall emphasise the importance and appreciation of the United Arab Emirates national identity and the principles of Islamic Sharia.
  • Schools will assume full responsibility of the means of transport provided to their students and the safety of the users of such means of transport.
  • Schools will need to support students with special needs and facilitate the integration of such students in the Schools.
  • Schools will need to treat their students with equality without discriminating on the basis of nationality, race, gender, belief or social status.
  • The KHDA's approval will be required for any School activities and programs throughout the academic year.
  • Schools cannot raise or accept donations or gifts from any person inside or outside Dubai without the KHDA's approval and any other competent government authority (including the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai).
  • Schools will be subject to fines of up to AED 150,000 for violations of the Resolution, as well as, possible suspension of student admissions and expansion plans for Schools and possible cancellation of educational permits. Fines will be doubled for repeated violations.
  • The proceeds of the fines collected under the provisions of the Resolution will devolve to the Public Treasury of the Government of Dubai.
  • Tuition fees are regulated by the School Fees Framework and will not be affected by the Resolution. Nevertheless, the KHDA's approval will be required for any approval or modification in respect of tuition fees.

Compliance with the Resolution

All Schools in Dubai are required to comply with the Resolution and adjust their status in accordance with the provisions of the Resolution by 28 February 2018. Such time limit may be extended by the KHDA for a similar period.

Regulating Private Schools In Dubai: A One-Stop Guide To Private Schools In Dubai

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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