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Abu Dhabi PPP school project

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ADEC Public Private Partnership PPP schools in Abu Dhabi

End of PPP for Abu Dhabi schools (Emirates 24-7 report 29 July 2012)
PPP schools in Abu Dhabi update (WAM report 07 March 2010)
Abu Dhabi schools PPP update 14 September 2009
Welcome to Abu Dhabi, new teachers for 2010-2011
Abu Dhabi PPP schools information

In September 2006, the pilot program of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiative was launched by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) to improve the standards in public (government) schools in Abu Dhabi with the aid of private education providers. Several providers signed up to the initiative, and Technical and Further Education Global (TAFE Global), part of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training in Australia, was to provide a curriculum for the PPP operators and schools. The providers (as far as we know) are:

Penta International Limited are a UK based school review organisation who have been commissioned by the ADEC to monitor and report on the progress of the PPP initiative. They are not involved in the actual management of the schools.

The pilot project for the PPP initiative began in September 2006 in thirty KG-5 schools in the emirate of Abu Dhabi - 12 in Al Ain, 12 in Abu Dhabi city, and 6 in the Western Region / Al Gharbiya. From September 2007, two additional operators signed up to provide PPP education for 3 years to 30 new schools for grade 6-9 students. From September 2008, grades 10-12 students are expected to be included in the system.

ADEC is an Abu Dhabi government body established in September 2005 to take over some of the functions of the UAE Ministry of Education, and the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. ADEC issues licences for educational institutes, supervises education zones and schools, and establishes and monitors educational standards in schools. ADEC will also attest degrees awarded by government and private colleges and universities. ADEC is not the same as the Abu Dhabi Education Zone (ADEZ)

Teaching in PPP schools

Teaching in one of the PPP schools is probably going to be challenging, to say the least. It might be rewarding - the organisations trying to employ you will certainly tell you that. If you are enthusiastic about education reform, then a PPP job should be just what the doctor ordered. If you're a teacher who relies on schools and departments to provide all the resources you need, then you'll probably be more of a hindrance than a help to the initiative. The UAE education reformers want to drag government schools from the old fashioned rote-learning system into the 21st century, complete with interactive whiteboards and internet connections (which are less likely to be available the further away from a city center you are).

Before signing up to a PPP job, we'd suggest you crack open The Google and spend a bit of time searching for more information. There are a disproportionate number of ascerbic comments in forums and blogs (Dave's ESL Cafe, and the TES for example) about working for one or two of the PPP school providers. Some comments sound quite slanderous, although in most countries, truth is accepted as a defense against accusations of slander. To be fair, there are also comments from teachers who say it has been a richly rewarding experience (of course some claim they are just stooges but we don't know that for sure).

Students are Emirati, not expat, and government schools are segregated. Most teachers who have taught both boys and girls will say the girls are much more pleasant, enthusiatic, and motivated. There are comments from teachers that some of the boys schools have an unnerving degree of violence. Unknown whether this is any more than what you might encounter in a less pleasant school in the middle of London or New York.

Have you taught or are you teaching in one of the PPP schools? Add comments to the Teaching in Abu Dhabi PPP schools topic.

Teaching jobs, salaries and benefits in Abu Dhabi government PPP schools

Salaries and benefits packages may vary substantially amongst the different providers. As with any job in the UAE, if you don't get something promised in writing, don't expect the promise to materialise (and even when it is in writing, the interpretation may not be what you expected, to put it diplomatically).

Salaries seem to range from about 5,000-12,000 dhs per month (which is at the lower end of the scale that a western-trained school teacher with a couple of years experience could expect in the UAE) but those figures have not been confirmed. Accommodation may or may not be provided - perhaps it depends on the education agency you signed up with. If not, assume it will be a pain in the ah... neck to sort out. Expensive in Abu Dhabi city, or substandard elsewhere, and difficult to find anywhere. Medical insurance may or may not be provided, again that is unclear. Companies are supposed to provide government health insurance as a minimum (but many expats would regard that is insufficient). If not, you can arrange a government health card yourself for a few hundred dhs per year, or private medical insurance for several hundred dhs per month.

Teach Away USA was advertising teaching jobs within the "Abu Dhabi public school system" in January 2010 for licenced North American teachers to teach in government primary and secondary schools. Benefits package included:

Living in Abu Dhabi city

Abu Dhabi City is built on an island in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, with downtown Abu Dhabi at the sea-end of the island. At the desert end of the island (the entrance to Abu Dhabi) is Khalifa City, which is close enough to be considered part of the city of Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi city is a relatively cosmopolitan city in which westerners find it reasonably comfortable to live in. It is a little more conservative than Dubai but by and large is an easy place to live. Most of what is written on this site about living in Dubai is applicable to Abu Dhabi. Although Arabic is the official language of the UAE, English is often the common denominator amongst the many different nationalities, and western expats live for years in Abu Dhabi without learning a word of Arabic.

Al Shahama (Shahamah)

Al Shahama is a small town (or suburb of Abu Dhabi City at a stretch) on the coast road to Dubai, a 30 min to one hour drive out of Abu Dhabi city (less if you live near the airport or Khalifa City) so although it's much less cosmopolitan, it's not so far away that you'll feel as isolated as if you were living in the Western Region. However, if you're living in Abu Dhabi City, it's a long enough drive that you may find it gets tedious leaving early and arriving home late on a regular basis.

Living in Al Ain

Al Ain is a city smaller than Abu Dhabi, a little more than an hour's drive from Dubai or Abu Dhabi on a good highway. Al Ain is in the desert on the border with Oman. If you like the beach, bear in mind you are about an hour and half's drive from the coast. Al Ain is smaller and noticeably less cosmopolitan than Abu Dhabi or Dubai, with more of a community feel amongst the expats. Imagine living in a small town or large village in a western country, and you will get a sense of what it's like. Some people love it, some people don't. Facilities for shopping, infrastructure, sports clubs, etc are adequate rather than good or excellent.

Living in Abu Dhabi Western Region - Al Gharbiya, Ruwais, Ghayathi, Sheikh Zayed City (Madinat Zayed)

Abu Dhabi, the emirate, is a large area, and outside the two cities of Al Ain and Abu Dhabi is relatively desolate with a lot of sand and a few small towns. As a westerner, you will feel much more conspicuous in most places, and if you do not speak Arabic, you will find it more difficult to communicate than in the large cities. Facilities such as shopping centers, supermarkets with western products, sports clubs, restaurants and bars, are limited or non-existent. Females might feel uncomfortable walking around alone, especially at night. What is commonly known as the Western Region is also referred to as Al Gharbia, and in 2008, the Abu Dhabi government announced an initiative to boost development in the area. The first step was to rename it as Al Garbiya/ Garbia (or however you want to spell it).

Ghayathi (Gayathi, Gaiyathi)

Ghaiyathi is a small town about 30 km inland from Ruwais. There's very little there and your social life will probably consist of hanging out with other teachers from a similar cultural background. If you're not comfortable living in a very rural environment, then you probably won't be happy in Gaiyathy. Abu Dhabi city is far enough away (allow 3 hrs) that an afternoon or evening trip to go out for dinner or do a bit of shopping is a rather daunting expedition. If you don't have your own car, you'll be relying on taxis for transport. Not something we'd be very keen on.


Of the Western Region towns, Ruwais is our best pick in terms of somewhere to live. There is a larger expat community due to the industrial activity, and it's on the coast (beaches are nice, and the water is warm). Ruwais has a small community center, and a larger shopping center under construction which might be ready by 2010. There are a couple of hotels with alcohol, on the coast within range of Ruwais (Jebel Dhanna nearby and Al Mirfa a little further in the opposite direction). If you end up teaching in Gaiyathi, you may prefer to live in Ruwais and commute than live in Gayaithi. With the opening of the Higher Colleges of Technology in Ruwais, there are a few more people to whine about teaching with.

Madinat Zayed (Sheikh Zayed City)

Madinat Zayed (also known as Sheikh Zayed City) is a larger town than Gayathi, about 50 km inland from the coast, and a little closer to Abu Dhabi than Ruwais. Note there is also a Madinat Zayed area in the city of Abu Dhabi, which refers to part of the downtown region. Make sure you know which of the two Madinat Zayeds you're heading to - either way you'll get a shock if you end up in the one you weren't expecting to arrive in. There is a larger community of western expats than other Western Region towns as there is now a Madinat Zayed branch of the Higher Colleges of Technology.

Some PPP ADEC names, facts and figures

Last update Saturday 17-Jan-2015
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