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Seats in primary classes still dear

Farhana Chowdhury / 14 September 2011

DUBAI - Seats in primary school levels, mostly those offering the UK curriculum, are highly sought after by parents in Dubai, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the regulatory body for private schools in Dubai.

“There is a demand for school seats in the primary years in general. Currently, about 8,500 parents are looking for seats — 5,000 for UK curriculum schools and 3,800 for Indian curriculum schools — mainly in KG,” said Mohammed Darwich, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission (RCC) at KHDA.

Based on KHDA’s interaction with schools and focus on trends over the years, he said that families living in other parts of the UAE prefer to send their children to private schools in Dubai thanks to quality education standards in the city.

The KHDA statistics state that over 190,000 children attend Dubai’s private schools presently, and the UK and Indian curricula are most popular out of all curricula.

The government-based authority had announced on Saturday that three new schools — GEMS Wellington Academy, Collegiate American School and GEMS Winchester School, Oud Metha — will welcome registrations this month for the academic year 2011 - 2012. The new schools are in line with the authority’s aim to give parents access to more educational outlets for their children. 

“About 975 children have been enrolled at these three schools with a total capacity of nearly 5,000 students. In addition, parents now have three more schools to choose from,” he said.

Two new Indian-curriculum schools were opened in April this year that offered an additional 4,800 seats to parents. Speaking about the fee structure, he added, “A new school is allowed to set its fees in line with the market requirements and in accordance with its business plan.

It is not permitted to change its fees for the first three years of its operation. Thereafter, KHDA’s fee decision for private schools will apply.”

Darwich said that KHDA is  currently working alongside other government authorities to set a framework to govern tuition fees for private schools in Dubai which will be announced in due course. More schools may be set up in the future to accommodate the country’s growing demand for school seats and quality education.

“KHDA has several applications from both local and overseas investors. The applications are going through KHDA’s rigorous process to ascertain both the suitability and quality for the Emirate of Dubai. This process must be completed before the next steps are taken,” he said.


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