'This gives us breathing room': Parents relieved as KHDA says no fee hike in Dubai schools this year
Many institutions highlighted that despite the softening of fees it would not affect the planned operations in schools
File. Students of Jumeira Baccalaureate School in Dubai return to class with Covid-19 protocols in place on Sunday. Photo by Neeraj Murali.
Published: Wed 2 Mar 2022, 6:00 PM
Last updated: Fri 4 Mar 2022, 9:01 PM
Parents have welcomed a freeze on tuition fees in Dubai private schools, major school groups in the country reiterated that their investors are attuned to the economic and national agenda of the UAE.
The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), on Tuesday announced that they had directed schools to extend a freeze on fees for the 2021-22 academic year(s).
School fees in Dubai have risen significantly over the last decade varying between school and curricula.
However, this is the third year where schools will not increase fees.
Hailing the move, a cross-section of parents said this relief would mean families can address other family requirements with the money saved. They highlight education costs for families have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels with extracurricular activities and school trips being back.
Ben Lebig with his family
Filipino expat in Dubai, Ben Lebig says, "This is a welcome guidance from KHDA. This gives breathing room to parents. The money saved here can be channelised to fulfil some other needs of the families. If there are two or more children in a family, this obviously will be a sizeable chunk.
"A lot of people have also lost their jobs during the pandemic. I spend around Dhs 24,000-30,000 as tuition fees for my daughter, who is in Year 8 at a Gems school. Besides, another Dhs 5,000-10,000 is spent in buying books and other essentials at the start of the academic session."
Mother of two children, Sai Talwalkar says, "I am happy that the KHDA has considered parents' obligations as well. In the last two years, many parents witnessed salary cuts that have not been reinstated. Besides, in the past two years, a lot of hybrid and online learning has happened due to the pandemic, and the onus of teaching children has been on the parents.
"I spend Dhs 100,000 for my two children who study in DIA Emirates Hills. This is just the tuition fees. Apart from this, we have extracurricular activities, school trips and transportation costs."
Meanwhile, many institutions highlighted that despite the softening of fees it would not affect the planned operations in schools, and there will be no cuts in services to maintain the educational standards for students, staff, and parents.
Alan Williamson CEO Taaleem, says, "After a difficult and challenging few years for all in our community, we fully understand and support this decision made by the KHDA. Prior to the announcement by the KHDA, we had prudently planned for several differing scenarios. This included a zero-percentage rise in fees.
The fee freeze will not affect our planned operations; and there will be no cuts in services to maintain and improve the quality offerings for our students, staff, and parents. Children’s high-quality education is at the core of Taaleem’s mission, and we will continue with our planned investments and ambitious expansion plans.
Williamson also added, "Additionally, we will fully honour our pay increase pledge to all our dedicated, highly professional, and loyal staff. Keeping pace with international pay norms will also allow us to attract the very best talent to join our organisation and retain the top talent we already have in our schools."
"The learning community across the world has perhaps been most affected by the pandemic and the effects thereafter. The move to maintain status quo on tuition fees across private for-profit schools in Dubai will provide financial relief to parents who have been greatly impacted.
Punit continued, "While the KHDA has confirmed The Indian High Group of Schools is eligible to apply for a tuition fee increase this year, we have decided well in advance not to opt for any tuition fee increase as we remain true to our core of being a not-for-profit community group of schools that puts the interests of our learners and parents first."
Schools also underline that they've had "significant impact on operational costs" during the pandemic. "These will have to be planned and adjusted for another 12 months," explained Zubair Ahmad, Head of Operations, Springdales School Dubai.
Further, clarifying on the need to put a freeze on scholarships and fee discounts for the academic year 2022-23, he opines, “A freeze on fee increase is always popular with the parent community. We have let our community know that this year is a year of recovery post-Covid, and we have made some low impact adjustments as a strategy to bounce back as quickly as possible.
"We took the view that during Covid we wanted to support our families as we knew they would have many struggles. We used the scholarship program and fee discounts as the levers of this support to the tune of Dhs3 million in the last academic year. We now need to roll back for one year of recovery and then introduce a unique and dynamic tailored scholarship program beginning in 2023-24 academic year.”