118 Schools Hike Fees

almost 4 years ago • Community Manager

 As many as 118 schools in Dubai will be increasing their fees for the new academic year, confirmed the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Applications for eight schools are still under review.

The KHDA received and processed applications from 135 schools requesting a raise in tuition fees.

“In line with the fee framework and the educational cost index (ECI) issued by Dubai Statistics Centre in January, the fee increases will reach a maximum of 3.48 per cent for ‘Outstanding’ schools, 2.61 per cent for ‘Good’ schools, and 1.74 per cent for those in the ‘Acceptable’ or ‘Unsatisfactory’ category,” said Mohammad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission at KHDA

For the third consecutive year, the hike will be determined by the cost index, which is calculated by a comprehensive analysis of the operating costs incurred by schools. The higher the ranking the school receives the more the school can raise its fees.

Darwish explained that out of the 127 for-profit schools, 16 were not eligible as they are less than three years old, three were not eligible due to a pre-approved increase, and two schools confirmed no increase in the coming academic year. “Regular fee increases for 88 schools and exceptional fee increases for 10 schools have been approved. Applications for eight schools are currently under process.

He also confirmed that out of the 27 embassy and non-profit schools, 20 have been granted an increase in fees, four have not applied for an increase while three have confirmed that they don’t want an increase.

Schools that are less than three years old or those that have been granted an exceptional fee increase in the past are not eligible for an increase this academic year. For the academic year 2014-15, 19 schools fall in this category.

Exceptional fee increases are approved for for-profit schools with investments in educational infrastructure, whose benefits should be available to students by the beginning of the academic year. The investment plans can include building additional educational facilities or relocating to a new building to improve the access to education.

Rising costs

A spokesperson from GEMS schools told Gulf News that that all schools across Dubai have experienced rising costs, ranging from rising rents, operating expenses and salaries. “Private education in Dubai is price-regulated and our regulator, the KHDA, decides when schools can increase fees and by how much.”

He explained that the fee hike for school tuitions were approved after the KHDA’s inspection of all schools in the emirate was completed, including those of GEMS. “The outcomes of inspections form the basis of the framework of fee increases for fee-paying schools in Dubai,” he said.

During the last round of inspections, five GEMS schools were recognised as ‘outstanding.’ “Such success requires continuous investment and development. A central part of these improvements, for example, is the regular teacher training and development that all teachers undergo to improve skills, teach new skills and raise standards overall,” said the spokesperson.

However, many parents believe that the annual fee hike has not materlised into results that have improved the level of education or services at their children’s schools.

Anas Asad Allah, from Syria, whose son attends the American International School in Dubai said he doesn’t see a difference in the school’s standards year after year. “I don’t think the increase will change or improve anything. They have been increasing the tuition fees almost every year for the past seven years,” he said. Rated ‘acceptable’ on the cost index, the school will raise its fees by 1.74 per cent.

“We have already been informed of the hike in tuition fees and we were told by the school to reserve a seat for the next academic year,” said Asad Allah.

Another parent, M.S., also believes that the annual fee hike has no real effect on his son’s education. “My son is in grade eleven at Winchester School. They seem to increase the fees every year but I see no real value coming out of it,” said M.S.

The concerned parent pointed out that the increase could be due to the rise in rent prices in Dubai. “With rents increasing, the rate for renting the school’s building is also increasing- and I think this could be a reason behind the fee hike,” he said

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