x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

School stands firm on fee increase

Parents to appeal to authorities as private Dubai school stands firm on 90 per cent fee increase.

A Dubai private school informed parents yesterday that there will be no further negotiation on a controversial fee increase. A fee increase at the Dubai Modern High School totalling 90 per cent over two years has been approved by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai. Officials from Global Education Management Systems (Gems), which owns the Indian-curriculum high school, met over the weekend with concerned parents. During the meeting, Gems management reiterated that the increase was not negotiable. Parents asked management to reconsider their position and respond within 48 hours.

Parents told Gems management that they plan to take their case to local education authorities, such as the Ministry of Education, the KHDA, the Indian Embassy and Consulate's educational wing, Indian authorities such as the Ministry of Education in India. Gems management said yesterday that they would discuss financial concerns with individual parents but they will not reconsider the fee increase.

Parents fighting the higher fees maintain that they will not back down. "If you close the door and you say there is no negotiation possible, we will take it to the authorities," one said. A parent committee will hold a conference on Wednesday to present their position to Gems management and local authorities. Among the demands of the parent committee is to be provided with an account of Gems's finances.

"If you say 90 per cent is justified, show us how it is justified," a parent said. "There is no justification. We have done our numbers and they are not willing to come out with theirs. We asked for the financials of the project, which they refused to give." Despite this, parents remain hopeful that Gems management will come around. "It's a question of my child's future," said the parent. "When we shifted from Delhi it took me five months to prepare my daughter for the change. How can you give a child 15 days notice that you are going to shift schools?"

klewis@thenational.ae