Dubai: Parents start receiving school fee increase notification

KHDA has also released some school ratings to assist parents make informed decisions


Nandini Sircar

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Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File
Image used for illustrative purpose. Photo: File

Published: Thu 2 May 2024, 4:54 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 May 2024, 7:17 AM

Some parents in Dubai schools have begun receiving notifications regarding an increase in school fees for the upcoming academic year.

While Indian schools started their academic session in April, international curricula schools will commence their academic session in September.

This comes after private schools in Dubai were allowed to increase their fees by up to 5.2 per cent, depending on how they fared in the latest annual inspections.

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Schools whose ratings dropped were not eligible to apply for any fee increase.

Notably, parents can also make informed decisions to switch their children's schools based on the latest ratings provided by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) for inspected schools.

In early April, Dubai’s education regulator Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced an Education Cost Index (ECI) of 2.6 per cent, based on which schools could adjust their fees for the 2024-25 academic year.

Khaleej Times reached out to a few parents who have already started getting these circulars.

Indian expat, Sajna Ali said: “The cost of living has been a concern — grocery bills are increasing, and fees for children’s extracurricular activities have also increased. Now school fee hike is also becoming an annual affair. Today (Thursday), my children’s school sent a circular stating that 'there will be an approved increase in tuition fees depending on inspection performance.' My children’s school can raise the fees by 2.6 per cent as it has been rated ‘Good’ as per the KHDA inspection.”

Improve education standards

She explained for her two children, the hike amounts to a little over Dh1,300 per year.

“The current school fee is Dh26,569, and now it is Dh27,231 per child. So, per child, it is an increase of Dh662. But I hope this increase translates into some pay increase for teachers. I hope that with this, the quality of education also improves," Ali added.

KT obtained a copy of a circular which outlined The Cambridge International School’s communication to parents.

The letter stated: “This adjustment will be applicable to all years and will come into effect from the beginning of the academic term.”

Additionally, the circular said: “As always, our commitment remains steadfast in providing the very highest standards of teaching and learning for our students, which largely rely on your fees to fund.”

This is the second year straight that schools are allowed to increase fees after they remained unchanged for three years (2020-21; 2021-22; and 2022-23) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Educational institutions were allowed to hike fees up to 6 per cent in the 2023-24 academic year.

Arindham Banerjee, father of two children in Grades 11 and 6 said: “Yesterday (Thursday), I received notice of the school fee increase. Regardless of how modest the hike may be, it still imposes some pressure on our family finances. Inflation is climbing, and expenses across the board are escalating. Managing expenses for two children alongside other financial commitments means any fee increase is not pleasant news for parents.”

Notably, this framework applies to all tuition fees and costs of services that are provided by the school. However, this framework is not applicable to services outsourced by the school or provided by third parties that are optional for the parents.

Meanwhile, another parent, Fathimath Manal, mother of two kids in Grades 5 and 2 respectively, whose children go to GEMS Our Own Indian School at Al Quoz said: “The authorised increase in fees for our school amounts to 2.6 percent, translating to approximately Dh200 per child. It comes to Dh20 per child, per month. I am thankful for our kids to be studying at an affordable school. I am relieved actually.”

Some school inspection ratings out

Meanwhile, the KHDA has released some school ratings to assist parents in making decisions should they be considering transferring their children to different schools for the upcoming academic year.

However, few school inspections and ratings are still pending. Depending on the school’s performance, the institutions have been rated 'outstanding', 'very good', 'good', 'acceptable' or 'weak'.

It’s worth noting that the emirate’s education regulator will publish a full report later.

In a statement to Khaleej Times, a KHDA spokesperson said: “The ratings for all schools that have been inspected this academic year are now available on the KHDA website. We hope the release of the overall ratings will support parents in making their re-enrollment decisions and help them plan for the next academic year. Detailed inspection reports and parent summary reports will be published once all schools have completed their inspections.”

So far, a total of 199 schools have been inspected this year. Around 20 schools have been rated 'Outstanding' so far and 39 schools have been rated ‘Very Good’ and 84 school rated 'Good' and 55 have been rated acceptable.

Some ‘Outstanding’ rated schools this year include Dubai College, Jumeirah College, GEMS Modern Academy, Kings School Dubai, Dubai International Academy (DIA), Dubai English Speaking School (DESS), Jumeirah English Speaking School (JESS), Arabian Ranches, among others.

A few schools rated 'Very Good' include Gems Wellington Academy, Silicon Oasis, Gems World Academy Dubai, Sunmarke School Dubai, Credence High School, Dubai, Regent International School Dubai, Delhi Private School Dubai, Repton Al Barsha among several others.

Schools that are rated 'Good' include The Aquila School, Mirdif American School, Al Salam Private School, Cambridge International School, Sheffield Private school Dubai, among many others.


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