A guide to nine top-ranked Abu Dhabi schools with tuition fees under Dh45,000

The majority of leading schools in the emirate and Al Ain follow the American curriculum

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Good-quality education in Abu Dhabi does not have to cost a fortune, with many of the top-ranked schools in the emirate charging less than Dh45,000 ($12,250) a year for tuition.

While school fees vary greatly across the emirate, some campuses charge more than double that of others, despite having the same inspection rating.

However, sending your child to a highly reputed school does not have to be prohibitively expensive as the emirate has a host of cheaper schools offering a high level of education.

Depending on your child's grade, some yearly fees start as low as Dh9,850.

The majority of affordable schools ranked outstanding and very good in Abu Dhabi follow the American curriculum, while a few follow the Indian, British, Ministry of Education or Japanese curriculums.

Inspection ratings for private schools in the emirate were last published by the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Education and Knowledge in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the evaluation, schools were judged in several categories, including pupils’ achievement, personal and social development, innovation skills, teaching and assessment, and leadership and management of the school.

While a very good school was deemed as exceeding expectations, an outstanding school was noted as substantially exceeding expectations.

The National has put together a guide on some of Abu Dhabi's leading schools with fees under Dh45,000 per year.

Private International English School

Private International English School. Victor Besa / The National

Curriculum: Indian

Location: Mohamed Bin Zayed City

Fees: From Dh9,850 (kindergarten) to Dh17,000 (grade 12)

Rating: Very Good

Noted as one of the most affordable schools rated very good by ADEK, Private International English School is managed by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Middle East, a premier institution providing education in India. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was founded in 1938.

The school was established in 2010 and offers the Indian CBSE curriculum.

The school in Mussaffah was rated very good in 2018-19. The school’s website says it is the first Indian CBSE school to be rated very good in the emirate.

Its vision and mission is to ensure pupils are global citizens who are socially adjusted, emotionally balanced and technically talented.

Al Bashair Private School

Al Bashair Private School. Victor Besa / The National

Curriculum: Ministry of Education

Location: Mohamed Bin Zayed City

Fees: From Dh12,900 (kindergarten) to Dh27,200 (grade 12)

Rating: Very Good

The only Ministry of Education curriculum private school on the list was established in the emirate in 1993.

The school’s aim is to be one of the emirate’s leading educational institutions, keeping pace with international standards.

The school received a very good rating for its high-quality education and pupil care.

It takes in pupils from kindergarten to grade 12.

Al Ain American Private School

Al Ain, UAE. June 6th 2016. The entrance to Al Ain American Private School. The school has recently experienced a significant leap in its rating, rising from a Band C to a Band A school. Alex Atack for The National.  *** Local Caption ***  AA_060616_AlAinAmericanSchool-9.jpg

Curriculum: American

Location: Asharij, Bida Bin Ammar in Al Ain

Fees: From Dh14,600 (kindergarten) to Dh24,900 (grade nine)

Rating: Very Good

Al Ain American School was a private school established in 2006 and follows the American Curriculum (California Common Core standards), offering a unique and creative learning environment to pupils from kindergarten to grade nine.

The school has 734 pupils and 52 teachers.

Pupils are engaged in projects related to robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) from a young age.

The school lays great emphasis on digital learning.

Liwa International School-Falaj Hazza

Liwa International School in Al Ain. Photo: Liwa International School

Curriculum: American

Location: Falaj Hazza in Al Ain

Fees: From Dh16,870 (kindergarten) to Dh30,460 (grade 12)

Rating: Very Good

The school focuses on a non-traditional way of learning that inspires pupils to be self-disciplined, independent, lifelong learners.

Established in 1992, Liwa International School - Falaj Hazza has a pupil capacity of 2,600.

The school has a physical education hall, laboratories, multipurpose halls, a learning centre, theatre and swimming pools.

The curriculum promotes research, self-analysis, participation, self-reliance and self-confidence.

The school offers the Liwa Education curriculum that is aligned to the California Common Core State Standards, along with the MOE regulations.

Japanese School in Abu Dhabi

The Japanese School in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Japanese Private School

Curriculum: Japanese

Location: Abu Dhabi Island

Fees: From Dh17,250 (kindergarten) to Dh38,180 (grade 9)

Rating: Very Good

The school provides a high quality of education for Japanese and Emirati pupils in the emirate, from kindergarten to grade nine.

Pupils at the school clean the classrooms and passageways so that they develop good habits early on.

The school runs small classroom sizes of five to 15 pupils and has only one class per grade so that children get personalised attention.

The Japanese School of Abu Dhabi was established in 1978 and it claims that all pupils at the school are fluent in Japanese within three years.

Most of the lessons at the school are taught in Japanese, while Emirati pupils take basic English from grade four and standard English starts in grade seven.

The school only runs to grade nine and pupils who wish to continue in the same curriculum can move to a high school in Japan.

Al Ittihad National Private School

Al Ittihad National Private School. Victor Besa / The National

Curriculum: American

Location: Khalifa City

Fees: From Dh19,960 (kindergarten) to Dh40,740 (grade 12)

Rating: Very Good

The school has a dual focus on promoting the UAE's culture while also embracing a global perspective.

Founded in 2002, the school offers a K-12 American-based curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core standards (California State Standards) for English, mathematics, physical education and art.

The school aims to foster a high standard of bilingual education from kindergarten to grade 12.

Al Ittihad National Private School works to integrate both national and international standards.

Pupils in high school are taught skills such as coding, mobile application development and engineering design.

Merryland International School

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. February 17, 2015///

Boys from Merryland International School in Mussafah. Solar Impulse plane in Abu Dhabi to start it's round the world flight from here in the coming weeks. Today they are having educational sessions with students from different schools. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National 

Reporter: Naser Al Wasmi 
Section: National  *** Local Caption ***  150217-MM-Solarplane-005.JPG

Curriculum: British

Location: Mussaffah

Fees: From Dh23,850 (kindergarten) to Dh42,500 (year 12)

Rating: Outstanding

Merryland International School in Mussaffah earned the top rank of outstanding for the first time in 2018. Annual fees at the school start at Dh23,850.

The school aims to educate future astronauts and rocket scientists and has a 3D laboratory, a robotics lab and a weather station.

The school is accredited by the University of Cambridge and offers Cambridge Primary, Cambridge IGCSE and Cambridge AS & A level courses.

Horizon Private School

Horizon Private School. Victor Besa / The National

Curriculum: American

Location: Khalifa City

Fees: From Dh23,490 to Dh44,080

Rating: Very Good

Horizon Private School, founded in 2008, is a co-educational school that follows the American curriculum and has more than 1,700 pupils.

The school prides itself on being a community within a community, with small class sizes that help teachers to bond with pupils.

Pupils are taught to develop their skills in many different fields including cooking, fashion and learning about the natural world.

The Pearl Academy

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., September 2, 2018. 
 Pupils heading to school for the first day after the summer break at the Pearl Academy School on Muroor Road.
Contact: Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Reporter:  Anam Rizvi

Curriculum: British

Location: Muroor Road

Fees: From Dh41,700 (foundation stage one) to Dh43,150 (year six)

Rating: Outstanding

The primary school prides itself on its family feel and works to nurture adaptable, creative future leaders.

The inclusive British primary school is located in central Abu Dhabi on Muroor Road.

Pupils at the school get priority placement at Aldar Education's secondary schools.

Updated: August 04, 2022, 7:48 AM