Dubai private schools are making billions in tuition fees, says KHDA
Dubai - The increase in revenue could be attributed to the number of new schools that opened in Dubai every year
Private schools in Dubai generated a whopping Dh7.5 billion in revenues in the academic year 2017-18 through tuition fees. The amount is up Dh700 million from last year.
This was revealed in the latest Dubai Private Education Landscape report by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), among other statistics, including the average tuition fees amount - Dh26,865.
The revenues earned by private schools through fees has increased significantly over the years. In 2016-17, Dubai private schools generated Dh6.8billion in revenue; the figures were Dh6.1billion in 2015-16, Dh5.3billion in 2014-15 and Dh4.7billion in 2013-14.
The increase in revenue could be attributed to the number of new schools that opened in Dubai every year. This academic year alone, 11 new schools opened.
However, parents also faced a tuition fee hike year after year, although the Dubai government ordered a tuition fee freeze for all private schools for the upcoming academic year of 2018-19.
Parents were shocked to learn the revenue amount private schools have been earning through tuition fees, while relieved about the fees freeze. Teachers at GEMS Education, however, weren't as lucky - GEMS has stated it is freezing salary hikes for all teachers due to the tuition fee freeze, Khaleej Times reported last week.
"My heart goes out to all parents like me who are trying to make ends meet and give their kids a decent education," Deepti Lal, a mother of two, said. "Over the last three years, I have seen so many parents move their bright kids from an outstanding to a good or acceptable graded school, because they cannot afford to pay the ever-rising fees. In the US or UK, you at least have the option of free versus private schools; here you do not have that option. So, I think it's a very good decision that the fee structure has been frozen for the next year."
A parent of three children, Jamaal Sarfaraz, believes school revenues for 2018-19 will be impacted by the tuition fees freeze. "The revenues were rising each year as more schools opened and as fees were increasing every year, but if the fees are frozen now, it will definitely bring down the revenue. It's bad news for private schools, but it's a win for parents. The fees freeze is a good start; now we would like to see schools decrease their fees year after year," Sarfaraz said.
Other figures in the KHDA report showed that 53 per cent of students pay less than Dh20,000 in tuition fees each year. It also revealed that the UK curriculum schools have the most students - currently 101,402 students study in 79 different UK curriculum schools across Dubai.
The second highest number of students are enrolled in Indian curriculum schools, with 79,705 students across 34 schools.
There are students from 182 different nationalities studying in Dubai private schools. The demographic break-up is 95,368 Indians, 30,747 Emiratis, 22,603 Pakistani, 15,357 Egyptians and 12,329 British.
"The wellbeing of our schools and students is a key priority and this is reflected in the growth of Dubai's education sector. Dubai is home to 194 schools and we are continuing to see a strong demand for high quality education," said Dr Abdulla Al Karam, KHDA's director general.
"Education providers have opened 11 new schools in 2017-18 and this has increased the number of seats available in Dubai. Students today have more opportunities than ever, as school operators look at new ways of attracting students and providing innovative offerings."
"The remarkable progress of our schools and universities is a reflection of Dubai's status as an attractive education destination for parents. The positive trends are a strong indication of the trust placed by parents in our efforts to promote positive education and wellbeing across schools."