Establishing a School in Dubai – the Owner’s Perspective

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Published June 2016

One of the national priorities of the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”), emphasized in the UAE VISION 2021 National Agenda, is the development of a first-rate education system. This, coupled with the increasing demand for new schools in Dubai, appears to create a viable business opportunity for investors who have the financial capacity to fund the establishment of schools or other educational institutions in the UAE generally and in Dubai specifically.

It may be obvious to a prospective investor (“Owner”) that a parcel of land or existing building will be required for establishing a school or other educational institution, and that certain permits and approvals have to be obtained prior to the opening of the school. In this regard, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (“KHDA”) has been established to license and regulate private schools and other educational institutions in Dubai.

In addition, there are several legal and non-legal issues which an Owner must consider before deciding whether to establish a school or other educational institution in Dubai. One of these issues is whether the Owner intends to own, operate and manage the school himself or engage a third party operator or manager to operate the school. This decision directly impacts, among others:

  • the type of investment vehicle which should be established by the Owner and the business activities which such investment vehicle should obtain permission to undertake;
  • allocation of risks relating to the school and procuring relevant insurance cover for the school and the Owner, as appropriate;
  • structuring current and future funding requirements of the school; and
  • the type(s) of agreements which the Owner would need to put in place..

Accordingly, it would be prudent for the Owner to seek legal advice on these and other relevant issues before undertaking a school project in Dubai.

If you are interested in finding out to establish a school in the UAE, please contact: Olabisi Omotunde, Senior Associate (  or +9714-4529091). You may also visit:


Olabisi Omotunde
Senior Associate
Tel: +9714-4529091