Private schools in Dubai allowed to hike fees by up to 6.4%
Dubai - Private schools in Dubai can increase their fees for 2016-17 by a maximum of 6.42 per cent.
Outstanding private schools in Dubai can hike their fees by 6.4 per cent as the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced that school tuition fees for the academic year 2016-17 can be raised by between 3.2 and 6.4 per cent.
A new Education Cost Index (ECI) for 2016 announced by Dubai Statistics Centre will allow private schools in Dubai to adjust their costs for the new academic year. The ECI has been set at 3.21 per cent, allowing schools to apply for a cost adjustment in line with the KHDA fee framework.However, the education regulator's green signal on Sunday to raise fees for the fourth time in five years has met with disapproval from many parents facing a cash crunch as living costs continue to rise.
There are 173 private schools in Dubai and 255,208 students studying in them. Also, officials in the KHDA stressed that new schools are not allowed to increase fees in the first three years of the school's operation.
Seena Menon, an Indian parent of two children studying in Dubai, said: "The annual increase in school fees is a little uncalled for. The income of parents is notincreasing simultaneously and the cost of living in Dubai is rising as well."
But school owners state that the hike is justified and the KHDA has provided them with the right tools to measure the hike in fees.
According to the KHDA's fee framework, outstanding schools will be eligible for an adjustment of up to double the ECI, very good schools are eligible for up to 1.75 times the ECI, good schools are eligible for 1.5 times the ECI and the rest are allowed an increase equivalent to the ECI per cent.
Mohammed Darwish, chief of regulations and permits commission at the KHDA, said: "The fee framework has been updated to align with the new six-scale UAE school inspection framework which determines the quality of education in schools."
"It protects parents from arbitrary increases and provides an effective mechanism to balance the expectations of school investors and parents," he added.
"The ECI motivates schools to improve their quality of education and helps regulate inflation by adjusting the increase," Darwish said. The ECI takes into account school operating costs, which include teacher salaries; rent, maintenance, electricity and water charges among a basket of other commodities.
Ashok Kumar, the CEO of Indian High School, Dubai, said: "The ECI is a perfect tool provided by the KHDA to measure the hike in tuition fees. The hike is purely based on the performance of the school and it will not be arbitrary and has been scientifically calculated."
However, parents like Trudy Correia, whose daughter studies in a Dubai school, said the KHDA inspections place a lot of pressure on the students and the school. "Schools are being allowed to hike their fees every year. However, there seems to be no change in the schools' standards. Why we have annual inspections and hikes? Schools only bring in big changes during that one week of inspections, after which, things go back to normal."
School inspections are structured around six performance standards, which reflect an overall performance judgement, by inspections framework. The fee framework, which has been applied for the past five years, has been developed in line with the strategic goals of the KHDA.