x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi schools told to refund unapproved tuition rises

Private schools that raised fees without official approval will have to pay back the difference.

ABU DHABI // Private schools that raised fees without official approval will have to pay back the difference. Officials at the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) issued the warning as the council prepared to send teams to schools for annual inspections. Of the nine teams of inspectors, four will work in the capital, four in Al Ain, and one in Al Gharbia. According to Yousif al Sheryani, an education advisor at Adec, the inpectors will look at "quality of education, school development plans, financial situation, budgeting and auditing processes."

Earlier inspections graded schools on measures including the quality of teaching, the curriculum, facilities such as labs and playgrounds, health and safety, students' personal development, school leadership and management. "I encourage all private schools to cooperate with the investigation teams for the best interest of the educational process," Mr al Sheryani added. "Inspection will highlight strengths and weaknesses in schools and thus will help them improve their operations and provide better learning environment."

Inspectors' reports will be used to assess requests for fee increases. Schools found to be offering substandard education will be given deadlines to improve, or further action will be taken. Schools found to have raised their fees for tuition, uniforms, transport or textbooks by more than the approved limit will be required to refund parents. Adec took over responsibility for school fees from the federal Ministry of Education last year.

This month, it approved fee increases of up to five per cent in 28 of the emirate's 186 private schools, far less than the average requested rise of 23.4 per cent. @Email:hkhalaf@thenational.ae