Six Schools Ordered to Refund Fee Advance

Preeti Kannan (With inputs by Shaaban Ahmed)
Filed on March 17, 2009

DUBAI - Six private schools in Dubai have been ordered to refund tuition fees, collected in advance, after they continued to violate directives issued by education authorities.

Two of these returned fees to parents on Thursday while the other four are expected to follow suit this week, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

Education authorities have now warned that failure to comply could also result in the scrutiny of their ‘eligibility to fee increases’.

The six schools were found flouting the Ministry of Education by-laws that prohibit them from taking tuition fees before the beginning of the month or semester.

“A vast majority of the schools have rectified the situation and have confirmed this to us. Our records show that so far only six schools flouted the rules in spite of our initial circular.

These six schools have been sent a follow up communication for the same,” Mohammed Darwish, chief of Licensing and Customer relations at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA),told Khaleej Times.

Darwish said two schools set the situation right after the authority contacted them. The authority declined to disclose the names of the schools citing policy reasons.

Khaleej Times reported earlier this month that schools, which collect tuition fees earlier than permitted, will be forced to refund fees and also warned they ‘run the risk of their academic licence being affected’.

“Additionally, their (schools’) eligibility for the upcoming school fees (will be) seriously reviewed,” said Darwish. The authority however did not specify how licences could be affected or how requests for fee increases for the new academic year would be viewed.

They were violating the rules despite a KHDA circular in February-end directing schools to refrain from the practice.

Institutions are, however, allowed to collect a registration deposit of five per cent of the school fees with a maximum of Dh500. Many parents have written to KHDA confirming their children’s schools had rectified the situation.

Parents of private schools maintained that schools were not heeding directives issued by education authorities.

“I called up and asked the school if they would refund fee. However, they said they had no instructions from the management to return the first semester fee,” said a parent whose child studies at the International School of Choueifat, Dubai.

Similarly, parents from Sharjah have also written to KT complaining that their wards’ schools were demanding fees in advance.

However, the Sharjah Education Zone said it had not received any complaints from parents so far.

“Schools are asking parents to pay only the registration fee and not the tuition fees for the first semester,” said Fawzia Hassan, director of Sharjah Education Zone.

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