Dubai has a growing army of private schools eager to relieve you of your wages. But, which curriculum will be best for your brood?
Time Out Dubai staff
Philosophy British education concerns itself with whole personality, encouraging students to explore, think for themselves, do sport and take responsibility. From the age of 16, emphasis is usually on depth of study rather than breadth.
Exams The (I)GCSE at the end of Year 11. Success in at least five subjects is usually required to continue to A Levels and uni.
University entrance The UK is the most obvious choice, but universities elsewehere will accept students who have earned (I)GCSE and A Level qualifications.
British education has a worldwide reputation for quality and its schools around the world are of comparable quality to the UK. Because A Level courses are so specialised, most UK uni courses are only three or four years’ long.
While students study up to nine different subjects until Year Nine, the number of subjects can drop to five for (I)GSCE exams and three for A Levels. The term ‘British school’ does not necessarily mean a school follows the British National Curriculum.
Philosophy The American system strives to provide a curriculum that is appropriate for every student, so if a child doesn’t master a concept, he isn’t locked into a system that requires him to perform, nor is he left behind. Students are encouraged to study a wide range of subjects.
Exams No standard exam defines the curriculum. Most American universities require students to pass a college entrance exam such as the Sat, Sat II, or Act.
University entrance Universities in other countries will consider an American diploma. Some universities may require extra tests.
Students aren’t locked into one do-or-die exam; they’re encouraged to work hard all the time. They aren’t stuck with one course of study until university, and usually have up to two years of broad-based courses before they decide what direction to take.
Quality varies widely. Some adopt the curriculum of a particular American state, but there’s no guarantee that a school bearing the American name will abide by any set curriculum.
Philosophy Headquartered in Switzerland, the IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people through intercultural understanding, addressing every learning style. In the middle years, the focus is on holistic learning. In the diploma, all students have core requirements, like an extended essay.
Exams IB exams are given at the end of the two-year diploma programme, although universities will often accept IB students based on their predicted scores. Students take a battery of different tests in a variety of subjects, plus internal assessments in each of the core areas.
University entrance Most universities recognise the IB diploma.
The IB curriculum represents the best from many different countries, not just one. The standard international curriculum means students can change from one IB school to another easily. IB strictly regulates the use of its name.
It’s a rigorous programme; students must prove they can keep up before they even enter.