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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Are education costs too high in this country? 

A survey says that parents in the UAE pay more for their children's education than almost anywhere else in the world

Schools in the UAE feature interesting and dynamic education environments with multiple choices of curriculum. Delores Johnson / The National
Schools in the UAE feature interesting and dynamic education environments with multiple choices of curriculum. Delores Johnson / The National

What is the price of a good education? This is a question that has occupied the minds of generations of parents seeking to secure the best possible schooling for their children. For some parents, especially in those parts of the world where free education is widely available, that cost may be moving house to put a family in the right catchment area for a good school. For others, it may be the price of admission to a particularly highly rated private school. For parents in the UAE, a different calculation comes into play.

As The National reports, parents in the UAE pay $99,378 on average to educate their children from nursery through to the completion of undergraduate studies. Many parents will scratch their heads at that figure, which was calculated by HSBC, as Dh365,000 seems much lower than the reality of the annual fees that are charged by some of the top-ranked schools here. Whatever the truth of the matter – the data for the survey was pooled from around 500 parents – there is no doubt that many parents are concerned by the rising cost of fee-paying education.

But this may be the wrong way of looking at the question. The UAE has one of the most interesting and dynamic education environments around. It is home of multiple choices of curriculum and branches of some famous schools from overseas. And it is expanding every year. Add in the rich local culture and a large number of expatriates from all over the world and one begins to detect the makings of a very special environment. Our classrooms are international affairs, where students from all over the globe make friends, exchange ideas and learn a little bit more about the world. That in itself may make the investment worthwhile. In fact, it may be worth far more than the dollar figure HSBC attaches to the price of education here.