Steep hike in school fees worries parents

DUBAI — Parents of children studying in a number of Indian curriculum schools in Dubai and Sharjah have expressed concern over the proposed hike in tuition fees as well as transport charges, during the new academic year, which commenced on April 1.

By Meraj Rizvi

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Published: Tue 4 Apr 2006, 11:06 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 5:48 PM

“We are already reeling under heavy pressure from escalating house rents and the increased cost of living,” parents complained, pointing out that the proposed hike in tuition fees ranging from 15 to 20 per cent and a similar increase in transport charges will upset the household budgets of many Indian expatriate families in the country.

The school authorities, however sympathetic towards the parents, explained that the fee hike is inevitable with overall cost escalation in the UAE over the past few years.

“Besides, educational institutions are run like any other commercial activity in the country and are, therefore, bound to be affected by escalating costs,” a number of school principals said, disclosing that the educational institutions are not treated differently by the UAE authorities and no special subsidies in service costs etc is offered to schools.

Dr Farooq Ahmad Wasil, Principal of Our Own English High School, Sharjah, disclosed that the Gems group is looking at a remodelling of the school because costs have become unbearable. He explained that cost for services offered by the Ministry of Education, in addition to the visa costs, work permit for staff, building rentals, cost of land, electricity and water charges as well as other overhead expenses have multiplied over the past couple of years.

“For example, a work permit for a teacher would cost a school around Dh100 only a year ago, but today the work permit costs more than Dh1,200. Under such increasing costs, and putting all effort to maintain quality, it makes it difficult for any business model to work,” said Dr Wasil whose school was recently approved by the Ministry to hike tuition fees by 15 per cent this year and transport fees by 20 per cent.

"But, we have yet to work out on how to go about with the hike in tuition fees," noted Dr Wasil, who disclosed that the approved hike of 15 per cent is not enough to maintain the quality of the school.

The Indian High School, Dubai, which has already notified parents of the upcoming increase in tuition fees by 17 per cent this year, is still working out to issue a circular announcing the implementation of the hike in tuition fees.

"A similar increase in transport charges has also been enforced this year," noted Ashok Kumar, IHS principal, who claims that the hike is minimal since the school charges a very nominal tuition fees as well as transport charges.

Kumar explained that IHS, Dubai, has proposed a fee hike this year only after the three-year restriction by the Ministry of Education expired.

"We have the lowest fee structure and a hike in fees will raise the tuition fee by not more than Dh35 per child per month, which should not affect parents. The increasing overhead and investment costs in its infrastructure have forced the school to raise the fees this year," explained Kumar.

A number of other schools have also applied to the ministry for a fee hike this year and are awaiting approval. The Sharjah Indian School (SIS) is among the many schools to have applied for a fee hike, but will enforce the hike in tuition fees only next year. However, the transport fee has been increased this year by 20 per cent, said KNN Pillai, principal of SIS. The New Indian Model School, Dubai has only increased its fees two years ago.

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