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Abu Dhabi Indian School

Abu Dhabi Indian School

Founded in 1971 Abu Dhabi Indian School is a not-for-profit private K-12 school located near Muroor, Abu Dhabi. Its primary phase is rated as C6, a school in need of serious improvement, while the secondary phase is rated as B5 (a satisfactory school).

The school is affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education, India and is licensed by the Ministry of Education, Abu Dhabi. As such it offers a full CBSE curriculum for Indian students. As you would expect, 99.8%, of students come from an Indian background, and 28.36% are Muslim. Less than 1% of students are from a range of other countries, for example, the Philippines, France, Kenya, Nepal and Sudan. Less than 2% of the students are identified as having special educational needs (SEN), the majority of whom have language difficulties

The school has a fascinating history, built from great names of the past. Initially the school operated from the India Social Centre in Abu Dhabi – which very soon became insufficient for the depth of demand for education in the emirate. As a result, Mohan Jashanmal, CEO of Jashanmal with other members of the Indian community in the capital approached the late President of the UAE, H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan to discuss extending the school. Sheikh Zayed gifted land measuring 175mx 150m, in Shabia Muroor, New Airport Road, to the Indian Ambassador to build an educational institution.

The school was moved to the new premises in 1980. Today it caters to more than 3500 students in its primary phase (KG to Grade 5), and 3,065 at secondary (Grade 6 to 12), making it one of the largest private K-12 schools in the emirate. Boys and girls are segregated at the upper primary and secondary levels.

The school has plans to move to Al Wathba in Abu Dhabi, with a capacity of 7,000 students.

Despite the size, and the current ADEC ratings, this is a very difficult school to get into. In part that is because Indian School Abu Dhabi has enjoyed a strong reputation in the community and the school is relatively very affordable. However, it is also because with just 30 schools offering the Indian curriculum in the capital, every Indian school no matter its reputation is heavily oversubscribed.

Each January the ADIS opens its admissions portal for a period of three weeks, during which time parents can apply to the school. There is then a lottery for places.

And it is a lottery: For the 2013/14 academic year 4,500 parents attended a draw for one of 75 places in the school’s KG section.


Note: To accommodate more students, Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS) started in April 2013 a second shift with revised timings – children from Grades 2 to 5 now going to school in a “second shift” which starts at 11.15 am and finishes at 4.30pm. That has allowed additional KG places. In total the school now takes 700 kindergarten students from 7.30am in the first shift. According to media reports, this has caused some parental pain who have been forced to find childcare solutions to cover the new times.

However it is a considerably more painful experience for the 4,425 parents who do not find a place.

For grades IX and XI the process is perhaps the most painful however. For this age group the system is performance based. Applicants for IX sit one, 1-hour exam testing maths and science ability, class XI sit two exams – a 1-hour exam for Maths and a 1-hour exam for science. Full details on entrance examinations here.

Like most Indian schools, ADIS does not publish results in a meaningful way that makes comparison between peers easy, so it is difficult to assess actual performance in external examinations. It does have a list of ‘Toppers’, those students who have done particularly well, but what parents need to know are the percentages of students falling into various bands. With the volume of students coming through ADIS and its peers, that some students do well is hardly surprising.

According to the schools ADEC report, by the time students reach Grade 12, attainment in English and mathematics is broadly in line with those from similar schools. Students do better in science, which includes physics, chemistry and biology, where their attainment is higher than those from similar schools. There is very little difference between the performance of girls and boys. For example, 96.4% of the girls achieved 5 A1s at the end of Grade 12 compared with 96.6% of the boys. Their overall attainment in all the subjects is in line with similar CBSE schools and the internationally expected levels.

Teachers, at secondary level, largely get the thumbs up from ADEC: “Teachers manage students’ behaviour well and there are warm relationships in the classrooms and around the school. There are enough teachers and administrative staff in the school to support the needs of all students. Teachers are well qualified, dedicated and committed to their profession. They have a good knowledge of their subjects.” The curriculum however needs work.

“The curriculum for students in Grades 6 to Grade 12 is not broad and balanced. The school provides the CBSE curriculum in all grades and subjects but fails to provide the necessary depth and breadth. Students with special educational needs, and those identified as more able, receive the same curriculum. This approach to the curriculum, based on book exercises, demands that students match or sort information without exploring alternative ways or methods. As a result, they do not develop the skills needed for independent learning. They are however, well prepared for tests, at which they do well.”

There is also concern over increasing the breadth of the curriculum so that all students have access to a wider range of subjects, for example PE and the arts.

At KG level there are more issues. The curriculum at this grade is “narrow, formal and teacher‐directed. It is based mainly on rote learning of English and mathematics which is inappropriate to children’s needs. The planning of lessons is unsatisfactory as there are no explicit learning objectives or success criteria.

“Children read books from memory, they do not understand how to use phonics and contextual clues to read independently and this inhibits their learning… Students have too few opportunities to develop the necessary skills of critical thinking and problem solving. Students are not encouraged to ask questions or to reflect on what they are learning…”

Aside a lack of meaningful examination information, ADIS has a very informative Web site, and includes details on extra-curricula activities. For sports the list is a long one – from Athletics to Cricket, from Badminton to Basketball. Inter-school competitions are also held. Non-sports clubs are also offered – and range from debating to Robotics club.

Facilities at the school seem adequate, if not on par with some of the latest private schools to open in the UAE. Facilities include labs, art rooms, a library with over 20,000 books, medical rooms and of course playing fields for sports. The challenge for ADIS is less the facilities, more the use of them.

The academic year runs from April to March and is divided into two semesters. The main school holidays are Summer break (early July to early September) and the Winter break (mid-December to early January).

Fees at the school are mid-range for an Indian curriculum school, ranging from 8,000 AED to 14,000 AED per year depending upon age group. For new admissions, details of payment may be found here. The figure quoted above includes a range of ‘other’ fees – swimming tuition, transport, etc. Fees are paid quarterly.

For more information, we do recommend the school’s Web site. As noted it is unusually well put together and informative.


Inspection Reports

ADEC Inspection Report – Primary – 2013
ADEC Inspection Report – Secondary – 2013





If you are the principal or the owner of the school and note any factual inaccuracies, or would like to update any information, please do not hesitate to contact us at editor@edu2021.com. Please also complete the Official WSA School Profile. We will use the information you add to provide additional information to prospective students.


Update on June 26, 2015 | Reviewed by David on June 30, 2012

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