Time Out Kids Dubai interviewed Souqalmal.com’s CEO and founder, Ambareen Musa, at the launch of its schools comparison section, to find out why it made sense for a comparison site to set up an education section.

31 January 2013: Making that choice: Which school is best for your family?

From your research, how easy or difficult do parents find the process of looking for a school?
The key message from parents is that finding and getting a spot in the school of their choice is painful – and the process is highly stressful with waiting lists opening up three to four years in advance of the entry date.

If we look at the key points, based on a survey that we did with 800 parents, almost 70 per cent highlighted waiting lists as a big issue when choosing a school in the UAE. We even got a comment from one of the survey respondents that she was told by one of the schools whose waiting list was closed that she should have looked into it when she was pregnant and not at such a late stage (even though her child was only one-and-a-half).

Are there any particular year groups which are very obviously oversubscribed?
We have noted that the early years of KG1 and KG2 are obviously high in demand. Once the children are in a certain school they move up and therefore it is quite hard for new residents to have a place in their preferred school (unless you are one of the lucky ones to have a corporate debenture). Generally, the early years of the schools with a top rating seem to be closed a few years before the beginning of the academic year.
For the full story go to Time Out Dubai.