New research reveals the cost of international education in the Middle East

Key points:

  • The Middle East has five cities in the cheapest top 10 international schools worldwide.
  • Manama in Bahrain offers the cheapest international school prices in the region.
  • Dubai has the most expensive international schools in the Middle East.

At the International Schools Database, we help local and expat parents choose the perfect international school for their children. Our database allows parents to find, research and compare international schools in cities across four continents. Naturally, this means that we gather and analyse a huge amount of information about international schools all over the world.

Our latest research project uses this data to evaluate the prices of international schools across the globe. In this article, we share and analyze the prices of international schools in the Middle East. Additional research focusing in other regions can be found at the bottom of this article.

Below, we have analysed price data from 6 cities in 5 Middle Eastern countries, in graph and table forms. While we have used all price data available to us, there may be additional schools and prices not included in each city, because they do not make their price data available or it is unknown to us.

Prices of International Schools in the Middle East, Per Year

The graph below is known as a box plot graph. It shows a comprehensive view of the range of prices in each city, instead of just an average, as a single average price may not necessarily represent the full picture of prices in each destination. Since there is a lot to unpack in this graph, we have also provided a little explanation on how to read the graph easily at the end of the article.

How to read this graph

Highlights and takeaways from the research findings

Manama in Bahrain offers the cheapest range of international school prices of the 6 Middle Eastern cities covered in our study, starting at $1,003 per year.

Riyadh offers a full spectrum of prices, ranging from $1,675 to $22,696 per year. This makes it the city with the second most expensive available school, but the wide range of prices means it also has some quite affordable options, comparatively speaking.

In contrast, Dubai has the widest range of prices by far, starting at $2,317 per year and maxing out at over $25,882. Since the city has the largest number of international schools in the world - 128 - the broad spectrum of prices isn’t all that surprising. It is also interesting to note that Dubai’s starting price is not the highest of all - Abu Dhabi minimum price start at a slightly higher mark.

Things are much more evenly matched in Doha and Kuwait City. In either destination you can expect to pay around $7,000 - $11,000 per year, making them both ‘middle of the road’ cities in terms of international school prices for this region.

You can find a breakdown of exact prices for each Middle Eastern city in the table below. But if that isn’t enough, we have also compiled price data for other regions and cities around the world; you can find links to this additional research at the bottom of this article. If you require any further information or have additional questions, don't hesitate to contact us at andrea@international-schools-database.com.

Prices of International Schools Per Year

Rank City Minimum Q1 Median Q3 Maximum
1 Dubai $2,317 $5,951 $11,402 $14,902 $25,885
2 Doha $1,250 $7,735 $9,888 $11,931 $20,786
3 Kuwait City $1,241 $7,083 $8,502 $11,613 $17,284
4 Abu Dhabi $2,532 $6,773 $8,414 $12,410 $20,421
5 Riyadh $1,675 $3,200 $6,000 $8,533 $22,696
6 Manama $1,003 $3,678 $5,426 $8,943 $20,424

source: www.international-schools-database.com

How to read the graph

Boxplot explanation

The purple box shows the middle portion of the data, known in statistical lingo as the Interquartile Range. This is the ‘ballpark’ range that you would usually expect to pay in that particular city. The horizontal lines at each end of the box represent the First Quartile (Q1) and Third Quartile (Q3). These are the prices that would be considered somewhat cheaper (for Q1) or more expensive (for Q3) than the norm.

The median is shown as a vertical bar in the centre of the box. This is the price of the school in the exact middle of the range, i.e. the half-way point. Finally, you’ll see dots next to some of the box plots. These are ‘outliers’, prices that sit outside of all of the above ranges.

⇧ Go back to the graph ⇧

Additional research for other regions: