x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Schools fees in Dubai set to rise by 3.21 per cent

Private schools in the emirate can increase their fees by at least 3.21 per cent, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority has announced.

Students return for the first day of school at a Dubai private school. Sarah Dea / The National
Students return for the first day of school at a Dubai private school. Sarah Dea / The National

DUBAI // Private schools can raise their fees by at least 3.2 per cent, the emirate’s education regulator has announced.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority yesterday revealed the figure, calculated by the Dubai Statistics Centre, as the Education Cost Index for next academic year.

But schools that were rated “outstanding” by the KHDA can lift their fees by double that amount.

The ECI is below Dubai’s inflation rate of 4.5 per cent but parents have voiced dismay, saying their finances are already stretched by the cost of living.

“We haven’t been told anything by the school as yet but I really hope they choose not to increase it by the full amount,” said M H, who has a child in Year 3 at Kings School Dubai, which has been rated outstanding.

“It’s getting to the point that it’s no longer affordable to send my son to the school. For one year it doesn’t look so bad but when we get increase after increase on an annual basis then it becomes more difficult.”

The mother said she paid Dh57,200 a year in fees.

Schools rated as “very good” by the regulator can increase their fees by 1.75 times the ECI figure, “good” schools by 1.5 times, and “acceptable” or below by the ECI base rate.

Parents say schools rarely consult them before increasing prices.

“It’s a cumulative effect,” said J S, who has a daughter at Horizons English School, which was also rated outstanding.

“It’s not just the school fees but also the cost of rent, utilities and the general cost of living that makes it increasingly difficult for many people.

“The schools should take this into account when planning to increasing fees.”

Mohammed Darwish, chief of regulations and permits at KHDA, said: “The fee framework has been updated to align with the new six-scale UAE School Inspection framework, which determines the quality of education in schools.

“It protects parents from arbitrary increases and provides an effective mechanism to balance the expectations of school investors and parents.”

The ECI is calculated after taking into account school operating costs including teacher salaries, rent, maintenance and utility charges.

“The ECI motivates schools to improve their quality of education and helps to regulate inflation by adjusting the increase,” Mr Darwish said.

The KHDA’s new school inspection structure is now focused around six performance standards, which reflect an overall performance judgment.

The fee framework has been applied for the past five years and has been developed in line with the strategic goals of KHDA and is connected with Dubai School Inspection Bureau’s quality indicators, said the regulator.

nhanif@thenational.ae