Foundation and development of the German International School Dubai

Our history over the years

Due to the rapid growth and construction boom in Dubai and the associated increase in the influx of Germans, the accredited German School Abroad Sharjah, which has existed in the Emirate of Sharjah for almost 30 years, is opening a branch in Dubai for the 2004/2005 school year. The Al Mawakeb School in Al Barsha is providing premises for the branch.

In December 2004, the Ruling House of Dubai donated a plot of land in Academic City to the representatives of the German School Sharjah/Dubai Branch. According to the government's plans at the time, all schools and universities were to be located in this district.

In 2005, the branch office in Dubai grows steadily.

Due to the increasing demand for kindergarten places, the kindergarten moves to a villa in Jumeirah in early 2006. Efforts and plans of the German School Sharjah/Dubai Branch to build on the property in Academic City encounter many obstacles. On the one hand, there is a lack of financial security, and on the other, there is resistance from parents to abandon the Sharjah site.

In August 2007, the Dubai branch moved to Academic City into the premises of the Dubai English Speaking College (DESC). The number of students, including kindergarten, is now 140. There are various problems that need to be solved: The Dubai branch is growing disproportionately and now has almost as many students as the "mother house" in Sharjah. However, both locations are supervised by only one principal and one administrative manager, which overtaxes the personnel resources. Furthermore, no decision has yet been made about a possible new building on the site in Academic City.

Separating the schools in Sharjah and Dubai seems like a reasonable solution. There are many differences. For example, schools of almost the same size are located in two emirates with different legislation.

Mainly through the mediation of the then Consul General Johann Cohausz in Dubai, there is a meeting on 18.02.2008 with the Government Director Kobler from Germany, the Association Board of the German School Sharjah / Dubai branch and representatives of the German business community. At the meeting the idea for the foundation of the school association of an own German school in Dubai is born and approved in principle by the representative from Germany. Support from Germany is promised. Government Director Kobler, however, makes it clear that the initiative for founding a German school in Dubai must come from the parents in Dubai themselves.

In the presence of Consul General Johann Cohausz the following persons founded the School Association of the German International School Dubai DISD on 01.03.2008: Gabriele Paukens, Werner Kletzka, Martin van Almsick, Heike Watts, Karen Kreutz, Katarina Geenen, Dagmar Abdelatif, Stephan Rosenthal, Tanya Bernthaler, Peter Göpfrich, Alexander Schütz and Andrea Steinhorst.

The foundation stone for an independent German school in Dubai has been laid.

On the part of the German responsible authorities, the Federal Office of Administration (BVA), the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK) and the German Foreign Office, as well as with great help from the German Consulate General in Dubai, labor-intensive months are now beginning. It has to be ensured that the DISD can start independently in the school year 2008/2009 and thus detached from the German International School Sharjah.

In May 2008, the number of students in grades 1 to 4 had already grown to 25 students per grade, thus reaching the division limit. The 5th grade, which was established in the 2008/2009 school year, already has 18 enrollments. The kindergarten has reached its spatial limit with 60 children. A total of 160 students now attend the German school in Dubai. (For comparison, the number of students in Sharjah is 190).

In June 2008, a two-day meeting takes place in Dubai between representatives of the association's board with Rüdiger Hocke, the responsible administrator at the ZfA. All necessary contracts for the independence of the DISD are signed. Germany promised to send a principal to Dubai for the school year 2008/2009. This means the independent financial and personnel support of the DISD by the Federal Republic of Germany. The German International School Dubai can now officially call itself a German School Abroad.

Principal Hubert Brinks takes up his post as head of DISD in August 2008. By November 2008, the school, including kindergarten, has already grown to 220 students.

In December 2008, the DISD receives official notification from the ZfA that it is authorized to conduct the DIA (Deutsches Internationales Abitur) in 2012. As a result, the Board of Directors decides to continue the secondary level I with grades 6-10 in the school year 2009/2010.

In April 2009, the Federal Office of Administration recognizes the legal capacity of the DISD School Association under Section 23 of the German Civil Code. The new building project on the property in Academic City is not pursued further for the time being due to excessive costs. At the same time, this necessitates a search for a new school building to accommodate the expected number of approximately 300 students.

On 18.08.2009 the DISD moves into the school building in Al Quoz.

In May 2010, for the first time, the examination in grades 9 and 10 (Hauptschule and Mittlere Schulabschluss) will be successfully completed.

In August 2010, Thomas Dietrich takes over DISD as the new principal.

The number of students continues to rise. In the 2010/2011 school year, 377 students attend the DISD at student. The rented school building becomes too small sooner than expected, so the school management and the association's board examine various alternatives: Adding more floors, moving to a larger building or building a new one.

In September 2011 , the general meeting of the DISD School Association approved the commissioning of a feasibility study for a new building in Academic City. In March 2012, the results of the study were presented to the members. They then commission the association's board to initiate the next steps: Preliminary design planning as well as preparation of a marketing concept and a financing plan with reliable financing commitments.

The 15 students of the first graduating class of the DISD successfully pass the Deutsches Internationales Abitur (German International A-level exam, DIA) in the school year 2011/2012.

In August 2013, Gert Blach takes over as principal of DISD. The number of students has now risen to 565. 

The association's board of directors presents various financing models at the general meeting in December 2013. The general meeting approves the contract for financing the new building with the Sharaf Group. It is ceremoniously signed at the German Consulate General in Dubai on December 19, 2013.

In August 2014, work begins on the site in Academic City. The official laying of the foundation stone with representatives of the Consulate General, the KHDA, the Sharaf Group and the partners involved in the construction takes place on November 19, 2014. The construction progresses well so that the plan for the opening of the school in Academic City in September 2015 can be realized. The school moves into the new building during the summer vacation.

On 06.09.2015 675 students start the new school year in the new school building.

The official, ceremonial opening of the school takes place on 14.04.2016.

Helmut Jolk is the principal of DISD.

Michael Lummel is the principal of DISD. The student population has grown to more than 950 (as of Nov. 2022).