Case-by-case nod for fee hike

The hikes in school fees will be reviewed and allowed on a case-by-case basis, said a senior official of the Ministry of Education recently.

By Afshan Ahmed ( (KT Archives)

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Published: Tue 25 May 2010, 10:09 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:45 PM

A 2007 Ministerial Decree caps tuition fee hikes at 30 per cent over three years. Some schools in the Northern Emirates that had not availed of the hikes in the previous years have applied this year.

“We have not received any alarming fee increase requests yet,” said Shaikha Al Shamsi, the acting chief executive for educational affairs at the ministry. “If approached, we will look at each school individually and determine if they need a fee restructuring this year.”

The MoE has recently formed a committee for private schools that comprises private education provider and ministry officials, whose key task is to determine how much fees should private schools charge. Al Shamsi said the committee will hold meetings to discuss matters of private education in the country. Meanwhile, the ministry is also working on tuition fee regulations based on their research that will serve the interest of schools and also not burden the parents.

Schools in the Northern Emirates come under the direct purview of the MoE, while regulations including caps on fees pertaining to Abu Dhabi and Dubai schools are set by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) respectively, though still within the mandate of the ministry.

In 2009, the KHDA linked fee hikes to the inspection process undertaken in the emirates’ schools. But, last month, the KHDA froze fee hikes and denied increases in eight Asian schools for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Mohammed Darwish, Chief of KHDA’s Regulations and Compliance Commission said fee hikes could not be justified at a time when inflation is low and rents have dropped. The decision came as a blow to education providers operating old schools. The largest education provider, GEMS stated that it will have to close some of its unviable schools if not granted a fee hike.

Al Shamsi said the decision of any increase in fees will be aligned with the regulations set by the ministry. “It will depend on certain criteria, necessity and if a school has not raised the fees for the last three years, we may consider,” she said.

Mary Davis, principal of the Al Saad Indian School in Ajman said they have applied for a 20 per cent fee hike. “Our wards’ parents cannot pay more than a certain amount and keeping that in mind we have ensured the fee increase is not more than Dh25,” she said. There has been no fee hike in the school in the past three years, added the principal.

An administration supervisor of a school in Sharjah said they too have applied for a fee increase and are awaiting the approval. “The fee hike is necessary to improve facilities and increase teachers’ salaries,” said the staff member who wished not to be named.

However, Vandana Marwaha, principal of the Delhi Private School said they will not hike fees this year. “We did increase the fees by a small percentage last year, which are still lesser than the allotted percentage to schools but looking at the economic situation, we have refrained from any further increase,” she said.

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