Last year, when the report card for Dubai schools was announced, it came with a price tag.
With every school, depending on their rating, allowed by the education regulatory authority to hike their fees.
If that trend is anything to go by, then the school report card, which remains unchanged since last year, could evoke a similar scenario.
“I just hope there is no fee hike this year. The cost of living is going up. The only thing that is not increasing is our salaries,” responded a parent, who sends their children to Indian High School.
Another parent claimed she dreaded the thought of another hike. “Where does it stop? If the schools have shown no improvement despite a fee-hike then, I don’t think another hike will bring about any drastic changes.”
The decision to mark-up the fees, however, will depend on the findings by the Educational Cost Index (ECI) that is published by the Dubai Statistics Centre.
“When the index comes in that’s when the hike, if any, will be determined,” said Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
He added that the fee-hike is not “automatic”, stressing that every school will have to apply to KHDA for approval.
Last year’s index was announced in March, but this year it might be sooner, he predicted.
“Last year we had the full, long-term frame approved by the government.
“That frame has two components – non-profit and profit schools. Non-profit it applies based on the consensus of the parents, and the profit schools are linked to the findings of the ECI.”
Last year, schools rated “outstanding” were allowed 6 per cent increase, while schools marked “good” were allowed 4.5 per cent, and those listed as “satisfactory” and “unsatisfactory” allowed 3 per cent.
Since the report card for 2012-13 is identical to last year, the school ratings might indicate a 3-6% fee hike.
Dubai Modern High School and The Indian High School still remain at the top with ‘outstanding’ rating, meaning they could charge, depending on an approval, a 6 per cent increase in fees.
The Indian and Pakistani school ratings are announced ahead of the other schools, only because their academic year starts in March-April.
“We want to give them enough time to prepare for their school year,” he added.
“The grading for this year appears identical to last year,” said Jameela Al Muhairi Chief of the Dubai Schools Inspection Bureau.
Of the 23 Indian schools, two were rated ‘outstanding’, seven ‘good’, 12 ‘acceptable’ and two ‘unsatisfactory’.
The only significant drop has been in the ratings for Crescent English School and Gulf Model School, which went from ‘acceptable’ to ‘unsatisfactory’.
Of the three Pakistani schools, one has moved up the ranks to ‘acceptable’, while the rest remained ‘unsatisfactory’.
Jameela also highlighted that this year she noticed that most schools fail to focus on kindergarten, leaving section-heads to take charge of the change.
“The change has to start from the kindergarten. They can’t only focus on the primary and secondary schools, and ignore the smaller kids.
“In fact, what they invest in them will go a long way in improving the over-all standard of the education they provide.”