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Are you a mom looking for the best schools in Jeddah? Or maybe you want to know which are the most popular schools in your area? Well I have some advice for you.
Every time someone asks me, “What are the best schools in Jeddah,” my first question is, “What curriculum?” Because the truth is different than back hometown (wherever your home may be), here in Saudi Arabia you have plenty to choose from!
Would you like to read about my experiences with school hunting? Well… I have a lot to tell you.
Two things to look out for in schools in Jeddah:
If you are looking for schools in Saudi Arabia, you should ask yourself two good questions – what curriculum and which location. Because the answer to these two questions will give you a lot to think about.
The location of the school is very important
If you even talk about Jeddah, this is a very big city. If your child needs an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon, wouldn’t that be really hard on the child?
Even if you wanted to plan activities for your child, walking around the city can get even more difficult.
Then there is the question of security. Because consider this: If you had to rush to your child’s home in a (God forbid!!) emergency, it wouldn’t be any easier if the school was NOT across town.
So, to say: consider prioritizing location over popularity!
Types of schools in Saudi Arabia
There are three types of schools in Saudi Arabia.
- Public schools
- community schools
- International Schools
Public schools are the state schools.
They are all Arabic and follow the Saudi curriculum.
Saudi children and those with at least one Saudi parent study for free, as do children of refugees. Expats have a minimal fee. To enroll in these schools, you must register through your Absher account.
Public schools have mainly Arabic children because the medium of instruction is Arabic, but you will also find expats. Every district has its own public school – whether it is kindergarten (Rawdah) or middle or high school. Depending on who lives in that place, you may or may not have expats studying there.
Community Schools in Jeddah
community schools are those owned by the respective embassies of each country. These schools used to be called actual embassy schools but nowadays they are all called International (country name) schools.
So for example: International Indian School, Pakistani International School, British International, American International, Bangladeshi International School, Korean, etc…
These community schools follow their own country’s curriculum or the curriculum that is popular in their country. (For example: Pakistani International has both an IGCSE and Urdu medium, Bangladeshi has IGCSE.)
Most community schools only accept nationals of their country. If one of the parents is not from their country, you may need special permission to take your child there. Rules vary…so you’ll need to check. But the good thing is that your child’s friends will be from your own country!
Community school fees vary. Some community schools are pretty affordable, but some…well…not so much!
Private schools in Saudi Arabia can be English or Arabic.
They are owned by private companies. You can follow either the Saudi syllabus or any international syllabus such as IGCSE, American Board, CBSE, IB or two of these syllabuses.
To be clear, a private school can follow the Saudi curriculum or the internationals. Those that follow the international curriculum all have “International” in their name.
Examples of private schools are: Thamer (IGCSE and American), Global (they have an Arabic and English department (IGCSE and American), Manarat Jeddah International (three schools with Saudi curriculum (Arabic language only), IGCSE and American (English medium)) , Kindergarten (Saudi and American Diploma), Dar al Fikr…, Al Waha International School (IGCSE), Delhi Public School (CBSE), Al Wurood International (CBSE) and so on…
These schools have both Saudi and foreign children. Sometimes one more than the other. Fees also vary. Also, a lot depends on the curriculum and the community they have.
Private day care centers and day care centers
Apart from these schools you can also find private crèches or kindergartens. These schools generally do not follow a curriculum as such. They may say they are the “Montessori Method” or that they are “Playful” or “American Diploma”… but in my personal experience they are not 100% following a strict curriculum.
Private crèches, day-care centers and kindergartens can be Arabic, English or mixed, not only in terms of the language of instruction but also in terms of the languages studied there.
Popular schools in Jeddah
Now the question comes back what that is best popular schools in jeddah. So now remember, we have our location clear… so here are a few places that people love in no particular order. I’m just listing them.
- Thamer International School
- British International School
- American International School
- German international school
- International Indian School (IISJ)
- Pakistan International English School (PIESJ)
- International School Bangladesh
- Jeddah Knowledge International School
- Jeddah Prep and High School
- Al Yusr International School
- Manarat Jeddah International School
- Global international school
- Al Kon International School (Arabic version of Global International School)
- Al Waha International School
- At Wadi International School
- At Wurood International Schools
- Dar Al Fikr
These are just some of the popular schools that I mention here. This is the only way you can find out if the school”the one for you“Or not is to go to school, take your child and interview them. 🙂
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