Some Dubai private schools can increase tuition fees up to 6 per cent in the 2023-24 academic year

The rate by which institutions are allowed to increase fees is tied to their most recent inspection rating


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Fri 10 Mar 2023, 5:04 PM

Last updated: Fri 10 Mar 2023, 10:42 PM

Some private schools in Dubai can increase tuition fees up to 6 per cent in the 2023-24 academic year.

According to Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), private schools are eligible for a 3 per cent increase in tuition fees from the new academic. However, the approved fee increase takes into account the economic situation of the emirate, as well as the operational costs of running a private school while maintaining the quality of education.

Mohammed Darwish, Chief Executive Officer of Permits and Compliance Sector at KHDA said, “The School Fees Framework emphasises the quality of education offered by schools as the foundation for any adjustments allowed in school fees. The framework also provides transparency for families and offers them a choice of schools that match their financial and academic requirements.”

The hike in fees comes into effect from the next school year. The fees for Dubai schools have remained unchanged for the last three years due to the pandemic.

“The framework was developed to allow schools to develop long-term growth plans while sustaining their current operations to provide a high quality of education to students. We have worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure the school fees framework continues to support a robust and reliable private education sector that offers families a choice of affordable and high-quality education,” he added.

The rate by which schools can increase their fees is tied to each school’s most recent inspection rating from the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau.

Under the School Fees Framework, private schools that maintain the same inspection rating will be eligible to increase their fees by three per cent. Schools dropping in the annual ratings will not be eligible for any fee increase. Schools that improve their rating in the most recent inspections will be eligible to increase their fees according to the methodology outlined in the School Fees Framework.

This framework is applicable to all private schools in Dubai that have completed three years of operation.

Methodology outlined by KHDA to increase school fees

  • Eligible schools that have maintained the same rating of the previous year will be eligible to raise tuition fees by up to 3 per cent.
  • Schools that move up from ‘Very weak to weak’, ‘Weak to Acceptable’ and ‘Acceptable to good’ can increase their fees by 3X2 which is 6 per cent.
  • Schools that improved their rating from ‘Good to Very Good’ can increase their tuition fees by 3X1.75 which is 5.25 per cent.
  • Institutions that have ratings going up from ‘Very Good to Outstanding’ can increase fees by 3X1.5 which is 4.5 per cent.

How students will ultimately benefit from the move

School groups have hailed the move saying that it allows them to invest in the infrastructure, allowing staff salary hikes, which will ultimately benefit the school community as a whole.

Dino Varkey, Group Chief Executive Officer, GEMS Education said, "Today's decision by KHDA to increase school fees for the academic year 2023-24 empowers us to invest further in our teachers and facilities, the foundations of quality education for every GEMS Education student. We are pleased to confirm today that we will be implementing teacher salary increases in April for our Indian curriculum schools and in September for our international schools.”

D.C Kothari, DPS Gardens: Managing Director of DPS Dubai says, “We thank the authorities for approving the fee increase. This surely helps our school in investing in resources and providing quality education. It is a very reasonable increase, so parents also are not burdened.”

However, some parents have welcomed the move while a majority state they are still recovering from the pandemic-driven downturn.

How do parents feel about this decision?

Filipino expat in Dubai Ben Lebig says, “There was no hike in the last few years due to Covid-19. I don’t think the fee hike is unjustified this year. As a parent, it might be a matter of concern. But when you look at the big picture it is a practical decision as the school staff also expect a pay hike. Besides, schools need to improve their facilities and invest in the development of the school. It is back-to-school on full scale now, so it is understandable.”

“The increase in the fee is a major blow for salaried people. We have a fixed budget allocated to household, education and medical expenses every year. This increase doesn't lead to an increase in our wages, and I am hoping that KHDA will reconsider this decision," said Hozefa A.

Moldovan Parent Inga Styler says, “I got a whiff of this last week from a friend of mine who works in a school. Frankly, we hadn’t expected this to happen so soon after Covid. People are still reeling from the after-effects. I have two school-going children. They go to the Dubai British School.”

She adds, “I have been wanting to get back to work now after having my second child which means we are a single-income family. In the past few years, petrol prices have increased, grocery bills have surged, and landlords have increased their rents. But salaries have not gone up. Now we are expected to see a fee hike… somehow, I feel the timing is not right.”

School Inspection results so far

School inspection results are due in June 2023 as the process is ongoing at the moment with different curricula schools being assessed in phases. The annual inspections that began in 2008 paused briefly due to the pandemic.

However, as per KHDA, “The quality of education provided by schools has continued to improve since the last full inspection cycle.”

Meanwhile, results of 32 Indian and two Pakistani schools have been released.

Amongst Indian schools, Gems Modern Academy has been rated as ‘Outstanding’. 11 Indian schools are rated as ‘Very Good’ with Gems Our Own Indian School and Credence High school improving their rating to ‘Very Good’ as compared to the last academic year when it was rated as ‘Good’.

Out of 10 schools that are rated as ‘Good’ this year three schools have moved up from ‘Acceptable’ to Good. They include the Indian International School (DSO), Sabari Indian School and Amity School LLC.

11 Indian schools have been rated as ‘Acceptable’ with Gulf Mode School moving up from ‘Weak to Acceptable’.

Among two Pakistan curriculum schools, Pakistan Educational Academy has improved from ‘Weak to Acceptable’.

Increase in school fees over the years

  • 2106: A new Education Cost Index (ECI) by Dubai Statistics Center allows private schools in Dubai to adjust their costs for the academic year
  • 2017- 2018: 2.4 to 4.8 per cent
  • 2018 - 2019: Freeze in private school fees
  • 2019 -2020: Majority of schools could increase by 2 per cent
  • 2020-2022: No fee hike due to the pandemic
  • 2023-2024: 3 per cent – 6 per cent


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