Brief Overview of KHDA guidelines and regulations on Private Schools

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is Dubai’s regulatory authority responsible for education, growth, quality, and direction of private education and continuous learning in Dubai. If an individual is a parent or student, it is possible mainly through the reports on every school in Dubai that one come’s into touch with the KHDA. According to a set of standards, the reports classify each school with a total rating of five levels: Outstanding, Very Good, Good, Acceptable, and Weak

Schools use the reports to improve their deal, or more precisely, their guidelines. That is also the basis for an increase in fees. Higher performing schools will raise their costs more than poorer performers. There are several standards, ranging from academic achievement in core subjects to the standard of leadership at the school, from student attitudes to the level of performance control. As part of its success criteria, it heavily encourages Islamic and Arabic education. 

The KHDA reports are excellent as they are the single most valuable resource for evaluating schools. They have been widely embraced by other emirates, most notably Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. While other emirates are catching up, Dubai has been several steps ahead in the area in terms of the openness with which it (the KHDA) publicly publishes school results.

The KHDA is made up of many agencies; the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau; the Dubai School Agency (which oversees the development of school-based educational services in the Emirate); EDAAD (a scholarship program run by KHDA that provides opportunities to UAE nationals with demonstrated leadership potential); the Emirates Nationals Development Programme (which aims to increase the presence of UAE nationals in key sectors of the economy); and the Emirates Nationals Development Programme (which aims to increase the presence of UAE nationals in key sectors of the economy); the National Institute for Vocational Education (aims to advance a highly-skilled, flexible, employable workforce); and Tamkeen (empowers individuals with visual-impairment through training, support, and counselling).


Key functions of the KHDA:

Approval from the KHDA is required for a variety of matters, including;

  1. appointment of principal and teachers (under KHDA regulations) school code of conduct and staff tuition fee raise or discount. 
  2. a contract between the school and the parent
  3. changes in the owner, operator, principal, and the name/address/building of the school 
  4. Curriculum


KHDA Regulations:

The Executive Council Resolution No. 2 of 2017 regulating the work of private schools in Dubai (Resolution) went into effect on March 1, 2017. The Resolution includes all private schools in Dubai, including those in Dubai’s free zones, and its stated aims include improving the educational environment, promoting private school investment, and connecting the educational system’s outcomes to the Emirate of Dubai’s approved strategies.


Obligations for Private Schools in Dubai:

The Resolution also sets a variety of obligations on schools, as well as relatively severe penalties for failure to comply with them. Below are some of the obligations to be followed by the private schools in Dubai: 

  1. Continuous career advancement of academic personnel to ensure high-quality education. Annual development plans, in particular, must be planned. If this isn’t already the case, schools should consider developing development plans (which are focused on enhancing educational quality) as part of the annual appraisal process; for instance; 
  2. Changing the school’s owner, operator, or principal without first receiving KHDA permission. It is uncertain what the requirements are for securing such approval or why such approval could be denied. A fine of up to AED 50,000 will be imposed if this provision is breached. 
  3. Appointing educational personnel who fulfil the KHDA’s approval requirements and receiving KHDA approval before those appointments. A fine of up to AED 100,000 will be levied if this rule is violated.
  4. Inputting information about students and school workers into the KHDA’s database. To do so, schools should consider seeking approval from students and staff. A fine of up to AED 50,000 will be imposed if this rule is broken. 
  5. Taking the appropriate steps to encourage and motivate UAE nationals to join its educational staff following KHDA-approved regulations and laws. 


Emiratisation is a major topic in all sectors today, and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has recently unveiled a range of programs, including “Tawteen Gate”, aimed at promoting and compelling the recruitment of UAE nationals into the private sector.



Additionally, there are penalties for inequality or discrimination against students (AED 25,000) and defamation of religions (AED 50,000). The Resolution comes after the KHDA released the Tolerance Charter, which allows educational staff in schools to sign to affirm, among other items, that they will comply with the UAE’s Anti-Discrimination Law of 2015. Representatives and managers of a company may be mutually liable under the Anti Discrimination Legislation if an employee violates the law in the company’s name and on its behalf. In light of this, it is becoming particularly critical for schools to enforce clear policies reminding employees that discrimination will not be accepted and defining permissible behaviour in this regard.



Non – compliance with the Resolution would result in significant penalties. It has a schedule that lists offences punishable by up to AED 150,000 in penalties. However, the KHDA will first write to the school, requesting that the violation be corrected, in which case no punishment will be applied. If the same offence is committed again in a year, the sentence is doubled. In addition to these monetary fines, the KHDA has a host of other very severe punishments at its discretion, including the suspension of student enrollment, the suspension of the school’s right to expand, and, finally, the cancellation of the school’s license. Given the KHDA’s all-encompassing role in the operation and governance of private schools in Dubai, it is essential for schools to urge their applicant to establish effective communication with the KHDA and to approach issues with them in a constructive manner. Fortunately, the KHDA is renowned for its openness, dynamism, and ease of doing business, making for a long-term collaborative relationship that would help all stakeholders.