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Read below to find answers to our most frequently asked questions about living and working in Abu Dhabi.

Education system in Abu Dhabi

How many primary and secondary schools are there in Abu Dhabi?

The Abu Dhabi Education Council in the UAE is responsible for three regions in Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain, and Al Gharbia. In total, there are 296 public schools. Cycle 1 (Primary) schools cover Kindergarten through grade 5. Secondary schools are broken into two cycles: Cycle 2 covers grades 6-9, while Cycle 3 covers grades 10-12.

There are approximately an additional 150 private international schools.

How old are the students in Abu Dhabi public schools?

In primary Cycle 1 (kindergarten - grade 5), students are 4 to 11 years of age. In secondary schools, Cycles 2 & 3, students are 11 to 18 years of age.

How large are classes in Abu Dhabi public schools?

Typically there are 20-30 students and one teacher per class. Kindergarten classes may have two teachers.

Who will be my employer in Abu Dhabi?

All teachers hired to teach in public schools in Abu Dhabi are officially hired by the government of Abu Dhabi. While teachers technically report to the school principal, they do not need to sign contracts with individual schools.

What is the support for teachers in Abu Dhabi like?

As Teach Away has been providing teachers to this reform since its inception, there are many support systems in place exclusive to Teach Away teachers. Join our Facebook group prior to departure to meet with the thousands of other Teach Away teachers who have set up social groups, sports groups, and play groups for kids. In addition, all successful candidates attend orientation sessions upon arrival, which provide a wealth of information about teaching in Abu Dhabi, adjusting to the culture, and all other aspects of life in Abu Dhabi. Additionally, there are support offices for teachers in every region, operated by the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

What are the teaching hours in Abu Dhabi public schools?

Typical teaching hours in Abu Dhabi are 7:30am until 2:00pm with staff and planning meetings to follow. Exact school hours may differ depending on the school provider and level of students. Meetings are not held on all days, but are mandatory. As with any teaching job, teachers should plan to be at school a full working day, even if they are not required to teach the entire time.

Are there opportunities to get involved with extracurricular activities at school?

Extracurricular activities are usually less frequent and are voluntary in Abu Dhabi. If teachers are interested in participating in an extra-curricular activity, they will need to speak to their individual schools.

How many foreign teachers in Abu Dhabi public schools are there?

Due to the popularity and growth of the Licensed Teacher program, foreign teachers make up roughly 10-35% of the staff in any given Abu Dhabi public school. Teachers can expect to work with a mix of local Emirati teachers, western expatriate teachers, and Arabic expatriate teachers.

Culture in Abu Dhabi schools

Are students in Abu Dhabi well-behaved?

Student behaviour varies according to school, age and gender of the students. Some teachers enjoy easy-to-manage classrooms, while others must work hard with classroom management.

Will all students in Abu Dhabi speak English?

No, English has been recently introduced as the teaching language in the curriculum. Therefore, English proficiency is quite low. Teach Away teachers are eligible for the exclusive Teach Away Scholarship Program for courses designed to address the challenges of educating Arabic-speaking students learning English.

Are all subjects in Abu Dhabi taught in English?

No, only English, Math, and Science are taught in English. All other subjects are taught in Arabic. Foreign teachers will conduct classes only in English. Teachers may wish to consider coursework designed to support them in meeting the specific challenges of Arabic-speaking classrooms.

School calendar in Abu Dhabi

Are teachers in Abu Dhabi responsible for working on weekends and national holidays?

Weekends in Abu Dhabi are on Friday and Saturday. As a teacher in Abu Dhabi, you will only work Sunday to Thursday. Abu Dhabi schools are closed on weekends and national holidays.

When is vacation time in Abu Dhabi?

Summer vacation in Abu Dhabi can start approximately in mid-June and typically runs for a month. Teachers will be informed of the specific dates of the summer vacation at the beginning of the school year. Foreign teachers will be paid for all national holidays that fall within a working week and all school vacation.

Salary and benefits in Abu Dhabi

How is my salary assessed?

Salaries of teachers working for the Abu Dhabi Education Council are determined based upon experience and qualifications.

Will my salary in Abu Dhabi be taxed?

No, salary in the United Arab Emirates is tax-free, so teachers will not be deducted any income tax in the UAE. However, teachers will want to check with their home country regarding tax requirements and their responsibilities while teaching overseas.

Is my flight to Abu Dhabi paid for?

Yes, teachers will receive reimbursement for their ticket to the UAE at the commencement of their contract, and for their ticket home the end of their contract. Yearly air tickets are also provided in between the years of the contract. Flights are paid for the teacher, their spouse, and up to three dependants under the age of 18.

Will I have health insurance in Abu Dhabi, and who pays for it?

Each teacher is provided with medical insurance once the necessary paperwork is completed upon arrival to the UAE. Upon arrival, teachers are given information about the insurance plans and providers available.

The Education Council is responsible for 100% of the premium of the medical insurance as per the approved government health care plan. Health care is most often arranged with a private health care provider as it is convenient and reasonably priced. Dental is usually not included.

Is there a completion bonus for the contract?

Yes. Teachers will be paid an end-of-contract bonus equal to the amount of one month salary per year at the completion of the contract. All contracts are 3 years in length.