x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Two Taaleem schools permitted fee rises

American Academy for Girls in Al Mizhar and Uptown School, Mirdif will see tuition jumps next year.

DUBAI // Another two Dubai schools have been granted permission to raise fees following last week's announcement that the Ministry of Education (MoE) gave five GEMS schools the green light for increases. The five schools had not been given permission from the local regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), to raise fees. The rises to be made next year will be at the American Academy for Girls in Al Mizhar and the Uptown School, Mirdif, both owned by Taaleem, the UAE's second largest private school operator.

Fees will jump from Dh28,580 to Dh34,000 for KG1 at the American Academy for Girls. The increase is higher for grade six where fees will rise from Dh38,980 to Dh47,000. "KHDA constantly works in cooperation with the MoE on all education-related matters, including school fees," said Mohammed Darwish, the chief of the Regulations and Compliance Commission at the KHDA. Mr Darwish said Taaleem had been in conversations with the ministry and the KHDA over its fee increase for a year.

But Mr Darwish said no other increases have been granted this year. The KHDA has set blanket fee caps in the emirate for the past three years. Last week, it appeared the MoE overruled the KHDA's authority to set caps by granting GEMS permission to increase fees. Ali al Suaidi, the director general at the ministry, said last week that Dubai schools had the right to increase fees based on ministry bylaws which allow for as much as a 30 per cent rise over three years.

But Mr Darwish yesterday pointed to a ministerial decree which gives the local authority the power to "devise a framework that will implement the decree in a way that is suitable and deemed fit". Mr Darwish said KHDA fee caps are "always based on this decree" including this years' decision. Last month, Mr Darwish warned schools that fees would be frozen next year as a result of the economy unless there were "extraordinary" circumstances like relocation.

@Email:klewis@thenational.ae