DUBAI // Fifty-four of the 138 private schools in Dubai have applied for permission to increase their fees next year, and many more are expected to follow.
The schools have 30 days from the announcement of their inspection results - which were released on Monday - to register their interest in increasing fees for the 2012-2013 academic year.
The Knowledge and Human Development (KHDA) said yesterday that it had approved increases for 25 schools so far, and would be sending them letters next week. The authority did not identify the schools requesting increases.
Schools receive increases based on an education cost index as well as the grade that the KHDA awarded them during inspections.
Outstanding schools will be allowed an increase of up to six per cent, schools assessed as good get up to 4.5 per cent, and those in the acceptable and unsatisfactory category can ask for a 3 per cent increase.
"As long as their requirement is in line with the fee framework, they will be granted an approval to change their fees," said Mohammed Darwish, chief of the KHDA's regulations and compliance commission.
The Indian High School, which received an outstanding rank this year, said it will use its six-per-cent fee increase to raise teacher salaries and improve IT infrastructure.
Ashok Kumar, chief executive of the school, said the increase would be its first in four years.
"It is hardly an increase on our fee structure," he said. The school charges between Dh3,300 and Dh6,250. A 6 per cent increase will take fees up to Dh3,498 and Dh6,625.
Some schools have applied for greater increases based on an exemption clause in the rules governing fee hikes. Only schools ranked good or outstanding - as well as embassy schools and non-profit campuses - may apply for the additional hikes.
These secondary increases will be granted only after a review of the school's motivations and financial records. "The applications of these schools are still under process," Mr Darwish noted.
Schools cannot inform parents of increases until they receive an official letter from the authority setting out the revised fee structure.
Principals said this wait was causing confusion and anxiety among parents.
Dolly Goriawala, principal at Star International School in Al Twar, said allowing schools to apply only after the public announcement of inspection results had created an additional delay.
"Unless we get it in writing from the KHDA, we are not allowed to communicate it to the parents."
She said the admissions window for new pupils had almost closed, and parents of new pupils were being quoted fees under the current fee structure.
"I cannot show them the updated amount and, though the increase may not be too big for our school, it does affect some parents."
Ms Goriawala said the school's fees had not changed since 2005 and a financial pinch is being felt. "Our premises rent has gone up considerably and we were just told that we have to pay more than Dh300,000 now."
Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at Taaleem, which operates six schools in Dubai, said all of its schools had applied for a fee increase according to the framework.
"However, not all our schools will necessarily implement the granted increase," he said. "The timing of the decision on fee increases does not help with financial and school planning."
Parents have voiced dissatisfaction with the KHDA's fee increase framework.
"I don't understand why a school should be allowed an increase year on year," said a mother of two children at the Gems Wellington International School. "I think schools here have fee structures that already boast plump profit margins."
If her school decides to take its 6 per cent increase this year, fees will go up from between Dh33,249 and Dh72,335 to Dh35,243 and Dh76,675.
Another parent, whose children attend Oxford School, said she could pay a three per cent increase "in the hope it will not increase again next year".
"I understand that the school may want some extra finance to fund some aspects of their operation. This should go towards the development of the teachers."