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Parents of children in Dubai schools receive fee hike circulars

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The hike is based on the current Education Cost Index (ECI) set by the Dubai Statistics Centre.

Parents of children studying in private schools in Dubai have started receiving fee hike circulars for the next academic year as the fee freeze levied by the Dubai government for the year 2018-19 ends. The circulars are based on the tuition fee hike if/upon approved by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) for 150 schools that are eligible.

The hike is based on the current Education Cost Index (ECI) set by the Dubai Statistics Centre, following the latest School Inspection Report by the KHDA that showed that 141 schools maintained their rating from last year.

This meant that they were allowed to hike their tuition fees by 2.07 per cent. A total of nine schools, however, are allowed to increase their fees by twice the ECI (4.14 per cent) for improving their rating from ‘weak’ or ‘acceptable’.

This criteria for fee increase is part of the KHDA’s new fee framework, which allows ‘weaker-rated’ schools that are showing improvement to hike fees more than others. In the previous format, ‘outstanding’ schools could increase tuition fees by double the ECI.

Disgruntled parents said that the impending fee increase was constraining their budgets.

“There has been no increase in salaries and since we cannot stop the education of our children, we have no choice but to pay up,” said Afsheen Ahmed, a mother of three. She pays between Dh12,000 and Dh16,000 annually for each child.

Likewise, Mohammed Faraz said that the fee increase was an added financial burden. “There has been no increment for me recently. Even if there was a fee freeze last year, the impending increase will be an added burden,” said the father of two.

On Tuesday, the Millennium School, a part of GEMS school, in a circular said that it will be hiking the school fee by 2.07 per cent for 2019-20 academic year. The school said it had spent Dh5 million on improving the building and health and safety standards in the school. Some of the improvements included new LEDs in classes, new laptops for staff, upgrades to CCTV cameras and new air-conditioners in classes among others.

The school was judged ‘Very Good’ last year.

Other schools are also planning the fee hike in due course.

For example, the fee for Kings Al Barsha ranged from Dh52,007 to Dh97,798 for the 2018-2019 academic year and it is eligible for a 3.105 per cent (1.5 times the ECI) fee increase.

Weak schools that have improved their rating are also benefitting from the new framework. The HH Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistan School, for example, has already increased its fees by 4.14 per cent. The school was rated as ‘weak’ for seven consecutive years and has recently been rated ‘acceptable’.

The HH Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistan School is a low-cost school and the increased fees have been applied to help improve its quality of education.

The previous fee for KG to Grade 5 was Dh313 per month, and this would be increased to Dh325.95. From Grades 11 to 12, the new fee is Dh651.81 per month.

Source: Khaleej Times