The quality of education matters
Schools would do well to communicate more often with parents and explain the reasons for the latest fee increase.
Annual school fee hikes are figures parents dread. There are debates and discussions streaming in from many quarters. Many grin and bear it. Others complain. Schools say they are justified in hiking fees to meet mounting expenses and establishment costs. Government regulators have cleared the latest increase based on the Education Cost Index by the Dubai Statistics Center.
Parents, however, say their salaries are stagnant and fees are becoming unaffordable to pay. Many plan to send their children to their home countries where school fees are less a burden on household budgets. You've read it here before, and yesterday, and it won't be the last time you'll read about it.
Yes, sending kids to school is turning expensive for parents. Transportation, field trips and other expenses mean they have to set aside a good chunk of their salaries for their school-going children. It also cuts into savings.
For the regulator, it's a tricky balancing act. Maintaining standards and constantly improving the quality of education is a no easy task. Schools in Dubai are expected to rise to world standards and provide the best learning experience to young minds. It takes money and resources to make it happen.
The Knowledge and Human Resources Development Authority (KHDA), Dubai's education regulator understands the challenges facing schools and parents in this competitive landscape, and has done well to base the hikes on the Education Cost Index. To be fair to the regulator, it has streamlined the process of assesssing private schools and has made the system transparent. Inspections are carried out every year and schools are rated 'Outstanding', 'Very Good', 'Good', 'Acceptable' and 'Unacceptable. Outstanding schools can raise raise fees by a maximum of 6.4 percent, while others should resort to smaller hikes based on KHDA recommendations.
Schools would, however, do well to communicate more often with parents and explain the reasons for the latest fee increase. We're talking of increased awareness to remove doubts in the minds of parents. The UAE is investing well in education and it's important the sector grows to meet the demands of a knowledge economy, which will drive the future.