Home > Great Resource > Great resource: Want to work at an international school in the UAE?

Great resource: Want to work at an international school in the UAE?

http://www.dubaifaqs.com/  has some excellent insight on the ins and outs of teaching at international schools in the UAE.

There are for sure a fair amount of “international schools” in the UAE.  When that is the case for a country, there usually are a lot of differences that are very important to keep in mind as you are interviewing with some of them.  That is surely the case with the many “international schools” all over China.

Sections International School Community would like to highlight:

They came up with a list of schools that were deemed the “best” in UAE.  They first explained though a bit about how they came up with the list.

– This list is our very subjective opinion only. By “best” we mean relatively professional working environment, administration for the most part is supportive of teachers in a professional capacity, resident visas are organised promptly, salaries and benefits package are decent to good (roughly AED 15k-20k per month in 2010-2011), salaries are paid on time, and teachers should suffer from minimal or no bureaucratic hassles on arrival, during employment, or when departing.

– If a school is not in the list below, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad (although there are plenty that are), but it’s not regarded as one of the best ones, or we don’t have enough information to add it to the list. The list is deliberately kept short.

– Jobs at schools in this list are usually hard to come by. You’re unlikely to find them advertised on job websites. Best approach directly to the school early in the academic year, and/or keep an eye on the specialist teaching recruitment agencies and publications. You’d be expected to have at least 2 years experience, be properly qualified, and have achievements that make you stand out from the crowd.

– Many schools (and companies in general) in the UAE often make things particularly difficult for departing teachers, attempting to withhold gratuity and/or other payments that are due to them.

– Before whining and jumping up and down, teachers should at least check the UAE labour law since confusion over contracts and other employment related matters is common in the UAE.

– Schools in this list are usually western or international curriculum. Even the better Asian curriculum schools still have relatively low salary scales.

– Schools in this list usually coincide with schools that are also the best for students, in the opinion of parents.

Best schools for teachers in Abu Dhabi

– American Community School (ACS-Abu Dhabi) – US curriculum (not related to the American International School of Abu Dhabi)

– Al Khubairat British School Abu Dhabi (BSAK)

Schools worth trying in Abu Dhabi if you can’t find a job at one of the best ones

– Al Muna Primary School

– Al Yasmina School

– Aldar Academy schools

– Al Raha International School

Brighton College Abu Dhabi (new in September 2011 so we’re not sure yet)

Best schools for teachers in Dubai

– American School in Dubai (not related to the American International School of Dubai)

– Dubai College

– DESC (Dubai English Speaking College)

– DESS (Dubai English Speaking School)

– JAPS (Jebel Ali Primary School)

– JASS (Jebel Ali Secondary School)

– JESS (Jumeirah English Speaking School)

– JESS Arabian Ranches

– JPS (Jumeirah Primary School)

Schools worth trying in Dubai if you can’t find a job at one of the best ones

– Dubai American Academy

– Dubai British School

– Dubai International Academy (maybe)

– GEMS World Academy

– Jumeirah College (maybe)

– Kings School Dubai

– Repton School Dubai (maybe)

Universal American School

Teacher job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi – mid 2011 survery

  • A WAM news report 15 August 2011 had the headline Teachers’ professional satisfaction rate in Abu Dhabi Schools is as high as 78.3%. The conclusion was the result of a survey conducted during June and July 2011 whereby 5022 public and private school teachers completed a questionnaire on the ADEC web portal. It wasn’t clear from the report how random the survey was or how participants were chosen.
  • There was a confusing line in the report about overall job satisfaction (the first question) which said … related to the teacher’s salary and as predicted, the levels of satisfaction were relatively low, in both public and private sectors, with 31.9 in the public sector and 43.8 in the private sector (but didn’t say who made the prediction or when it was made). Presumably referring to a component asking about pay and salaries. Whereas the first paragraph of the report said A recent survey conducted by Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) on teachers’ job satisfaction in Abu Dhabi Schools showed a satisfaction index in public schools of 77.7% while in private schools, it reached 78.9.
  • The National had a slightly different slant on the survery, with a headline on 16 August 2011 that said Teachers criticise apathetic parents, and highlighted that In a survey of 5,000 teachers, carried out by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) last month to gauge job satisfaction, it was found that 76.3 per cent of public school teachers and 67.3 per cent of private school teachers were unhappy with behaviour in the classroom.

Salaries for teaching jobs in Dubai and the UAE

There is supposed to be a minimum teacher salary of 2,000 dhs/mth in the UAE according to the UAE Ministry of Education (for most jobs in Dubai there is no minimum salary) but some schools try to pay less than that, at least according to several press articles. See the teacher salaries in Dubai discussion. Update (16 June 2010): the minimum might be higher – Gulf News reported that Asian schools teachers are among the lowest paid in the market with the minimum salary fixed at Dh2,500 by the Ministry of Education. Figure unconfirmed. Update again (22 February 2011): the minimum is apparently still AED 2,000 per month – Emirates Business 24-7 reported that Currently, most teachers in schools with Indian curricula earn less than Dh2,500 – just above the UAE Ministry of Education’s minimum wage cap of Dh2,000.

Salary range for classroom teachers is 1,000-6,000 dhs per month for most government schools and 1,000-20,000 dhs per month for private schools. Schools with IB, UK or US curriculums usually pay the highest – the better ones are 10,000-15,000 dhs per month (with accommodation, flights etc included), at the top of the range secondary school teachers could get over 20,000 dhs per month. Indian schools pay about 2,000-4,000 dhs per month. Other Asian schools are similar, other European schools are closer to UK/US curriculum schools with their packages.

  • For example, a British curriculum school in Abu Dhabi (unnamed) was advertising in August 2010 for a primary school teacher to KS1 with salary range of AED 11,000-15,000. Benefits included family housing, flights, medical, free schooling for 2 children (presumably if they attend the same school as the employee, not clear if fees paid to send them to another school). School claimed to be offering one of the top Abu Dhabi international school teacher salaries.
  • The ADEC was offering Abu Dhabi teaching jobs in their Abu Dhabi PPP schools program which started in 2006, with salaries advertised up to AED 20,000 per month from some providers. But that’s a maximum. Range is probably something like AED 5,000 to 20,000 per month.

In the list of Dubai schools, if there is no teacher salary information, the school fees will give an indication of the salaries on offer. Divide the annual secondary school fee by 3 to get a very approximate monthly salary figure, or divide the primary school annual fee by 2. Reduce the result by 25% for profit-making schools. This should give you a mid to high point on the school salary scale.

  • Teachers should check carefully what the salary package includes. Most overseas hire packages will include accommodation (which can vary from very good to slum), medical (which can also vary substantially – a government health card is only regarded as a bare minimum), return flights once a year (if the school insists on making bookings for you, this can be an aggravating experience). Some will include allowances for transport and utilities, and free or reduced tuition charges for children attending the same school.
  • If a school offers an accommodation allowance instead of accommodation, it is likely to be insufficient for good accommodation – assume it will cover about 50% of your rental costs (which are normally paid one year in advance in full). Especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and until 2009 at least, it’s difficult to even find properties for rent.
  • Teachers on local contract hires will normally not be offered any of the above and may find it difficult financially if they have to cover their own accommodation costs – rental properties are very expensive in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
  • Check also the policy for salary increments. Some schools do not move teachers up a salary scale irrespective of years of service or additional qualifications gained.
  1. 25 October, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Bedankt voor het delen. Heb het gelijk doorgestuurd naar een neef, hij was hiernaar opzoek! Mooie site trouwens!

  2. Zainab
    25 November, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Hello, I’m just wondering. Were the job opportunities being advertised by ADEC open for South-Asian (Indian, Pakistani ) teachers too? Because there appears to be some pay discrimination based on that.

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