The Ministry of Education regulates both private and public schools. Private English and American schools have been established in the main urban areas which are normally staffed by expatriate teachers. Other schools are available such as German and French schools.

Public education is free for children of UAE nationality and expatriate students may attend these for a fee. Salary packages of employees with children normally include an education allowance to cover the fees.

Education is compulsory for all UAE nationals up to the ninth grade. The educational system is organized a follows:

4 to 5 years old

6 to 11 years old

12 to 14 years old

15 to 17 years old

A number of universities and other educational organisations offering higher diplomas and degrees have been established, many with international accreditation. Most teaching takes place in the English language with the exception of UAE University in Al Ain where it takes place in Arabic. As opposed to expatriates UAE nationals do not pay tuition fees. Reputable universities, such as New York University and Sorbonne have established chapters locally and whereas others have collaborative programmes such as that of Masdar Institute with MIT.