Parents up in arms over school fee hike proposal

DUBAI — The Ministry of Education (MoE) and a number of educational zones in the country have been flooded over the past two days with hundreds of complaints from parents shocked by the sudden increase in school fees proposed by the managements of the private schools from the coming academic year.

By Mohsen Rashid

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Published: Sat 10 Jun 2006, 10:32 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:21 PM

School owners justify their move on the ground of a general rise in prices and higher salaries required to be paid by them to rope in well qualified teachers and administrative staff.

The fee hike might exceed 35 per cent, although the MoE has set some conditions and standards for justifying such a hike.

The deputy director of the private education department at Dubai Education Zone Khadija Al Huseini said that the increase in school fees endorsed by the MoE in coordination with the education zones, varies between 5 and 20 per cent. The schools have no right to ask for an increase in its fees unless three years have elapsed since the last hike, she clarified.

The MoE decides on such an increase in fees after paying a visit to the school concerned to assess the activities there including the services it has added to improve both the educational process and the performance of students, noted Khadija Al Huseini.

Al Huseini asked the parents to request the managements of schools to let them review the approval of the MoE in this regard.

Meanwhile, owners of some private schools, on condition of anonymity, unanimously confirmed that the hike in school fees determined by the MoE does not match the services provided by schools since the rates were decided by the ministry more than three years ago during which period petroleum prices had doubled, and costs of school bus services, building materials, furniture and other equipment had increased. "Moreover, we are required to bring in the highly qualified teaching staff and administrators, so we have to pay them high salaries," owners of schools pointed out.

Besides, teachers who have worked a long time in such schools are paid minimum Dh2,000 and they continuously ask for increase in their salaries. The teaching staff working for one of Dubai-based private schools threatened to resign if the school management does not mark up their salaries, noted schools owners.

"How can we enhance the positions of the teaching staff and administrators and bring in the vastly experienced staff? And how can we face the rise in everything?" the owners asked. "Finally we are accused of exploiting students' parents," they added.

The owners of private schools urged the MoE to reconsider the school fees in a fair manner.

Khaleej Times has managed to secure a list of the private schools which have received approval to effect fee hike by the academic year 2006-2007.

A total of 95 schools in the country applied for increasing their fees, but only 74 schools got the approval, while representations of 21 schools were rejected.

In Dubai, fee hike proposals of about 30 schools were approved as the increase varied between 5 and 20 per cent.

Around 16 schools were allowed to increase their fees to the extent of 20 per cent, 4 schools 15 per cent, 8 schools 10 per cent and two schools within a 5 per cent range.

A total of 59 schools had applied for an increase in additional fees under the categories of transport fees, books, school uniform, and health services. Of them, applications of 51 schools were approved and those of the remaining 8 schools were rejected. Proposals of 18 schools affiliated to Dubai Education Zone were approved.

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