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L'école Al Ahmadiya, les prémisses de l'éducation dans les émirats

Updated on 03.06.2018

Representation of a teacher teaching students at Al Ahmadiya School in Dubai ©Odyfolio

Al Ahmadiya School, located in the historic district of Dubai, is one of the first schools in the country, and testifies to the beginning of formal education in the United Arab Emirates. It is also a beautiful restored building in the heart of Old Dubai.

History of Al Ahmadiya School

Before the creation of schools in the emirates, education was provided by volunteers called Al Muttawa. Generally learned and respected women or men, muttawas provided basic education by bringing children together in a neighborhood house.

The Al Ahmadiya School of Dubai, created in 1910, is the first in the city. It is representative of so-called semi-formal school elements that were created in the early twentieth century. The teachings taught were based on the Qur'an, the Arabic language, history, literature, mathematics and astronomy.

Its creator, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Dammouk, traveled to the Middle East to recruit teachers in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It was then a private school that grew steadily, funded in the beginning by its benefactors, then by the introduction of tuition fees. But in 1932, Dubai is hit by the economic crisis: Japanese pearls compete with local production. The financial conditions of the city are declining and the school has to close.

A few years later, in 1937, the Dubai authorities took over the establishment, which in the following decades would always welcome more students, introducing new teachings. In 1963 the school was transferred to another building and the historic site was closed.

More recently the building has been completely rehabilitated to become a tourist spot dedicated to remembering the premises of education in Dubai and the Emirates.

Visit of Al Ahmadiya School

The Ahmadiya School is a very beautiful, restored two-storey building, with splendid carved ornaments.

On the ground floor several rooms exhibit ancient objects, and there is upstairs period furniture.

Al Ahmadiya School inner courtyard in Old Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ©Odyfolio

Schedules and practical information for the visit

Admission to Al Ahmadiya School is free. The hours are from 8am to 7.30pm every day, except on Friday when the doors of the school open at Admission to Al Ahmadiya School is free. The hours are from 8:00 to 19:30 every day, except on Friday when the doors of the school open at 2.30.pm.

Hotels nearby

Many hotels in the area, but not really recommendable. Walking a little along the Creek, you'll find a few decent establishments, such as the Hyatt Place Dubai Baniyas Square, the Hyatt Regency Dubai Heritage Area or the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers.

Access map

The entrance to Al Ahmadiya school can be a bit hard to find. The easiest way is probably to go first to the heritage house located on the main road. Leaving the heritage house walk on the sidewalk to the right, then take the first street on the right (pedestrian). Very quickly you will see the entrance of the school on your right.

Access map to Al Ahmadiya School of Dubai ©OpenStreetMap contributors