UAE: Some Sharjah schools not allowed to increase fees; authority explains rules

While some families say the hike will be a budget concern, others welcome the move, saying it would enhance the quality of education in the emirate

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Afkar Ali Ahmed

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Published: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 5:58 PM

Last updated: Tue 14 Mar 2023, 6:52 PM

Sharjah's education authority on Monday announced that private schools in the emirate may hike their fees by up to 5 per cent for the next academic year — but not all will be allowed to increase charges.

The decision — issued by the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) — will not cover schools with a rating that is below 'acceptable', while others will be allowed to increase only by a marginal amount.

Dr Muhaddithah Al Hashemi, chairperson of the SPEA, said the approval was based on a number of factors, from economic growth and global inflation rates to higher utility prices and operational costs.

Tuition fee structures in the emirate are also tied to each school's performance, Al Hashemi clarified.

Here's how the upcoming increases will apply to schools based on their ratings:

  • 'Excellent' schools may hike fees by 5%
  • 'Very good' schools may increase by 3.75%
  • 'Good' schools may increase by 2.5%
  • 'Acceptable' schools may increase 1.25%

“As for schools that were evaluated as poor or very weak, they are not entitled to raise their fees,” Al Hashemi said.

Parents in the emirate have different reactions to the fee increase. While those who are not earning much say it would be a budget concern for their families, others welcome the move, saying it would engance the quality of education in Sharjah.

Aisha Al Mullah, whose children are enrolled in Sama American Private School, said that the 2 to 3-per-cent hike is reasonable enough and would contribute to improving education.

In all cases, however, schools are not allowed to stop students from attending classes or taking exams due to payment issues, another SPEA official said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Ali Al Hosani, director of the SPEA, said the authority categorically prohibits the expulsion of any student or any other action that would deprive him/her of access to education.

How schools can apply for the hike

Al Hashemi said schools that meet the conditions have the right to submit a request to raise their fees every two academic years, provided that the submission is done through the Tamam platform. Documents and justifications should also be sent to support the request.

The application is then studied and a decision is made based on the results of performance evaluations and inflation considerations.

"The SPEA endeavours to achieve a balance in implementing school fees in a way that will allow campuses to operate properly but also keeping parents' budget constraints in mind," Al Hashemi said.

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