School fee hike guidelines unlikely soon

Few schools are registered for accreditation to implement a scheme, says ministry.

The issue of how much fee increase a school can impose is unlikely to be settled anytime soon, Emirates Business has learned.

According to Abdullah Al Amiri, Advisor to the UAE Minister of Education, there is currently no universal guidelines for schools in the country with regards to school tuition increases.

"The ministry is very concerned but right now we don't have an implemented step. The step that we have as per the ministry is based on accomplished inflation data so if it's five per cent then it is five, if it is 10 then you can go up to 10 but there should be a proper criteria."

"What the ministry has started now is the accreditation programme where those who were accredited will be allowed to raise the fees eventually," said Al Amiri. "But we need to have enough number of [accredited schools]. Right now we only have 70 and we have about 1,200 schools in the UAE. So a chance to everybody to accredit themselves would take some time."

In July, Education Minister Humaid Quttami said schools in the UAE will need accreditation from the Ministry of Education beginning this year. The method of evaluation will be similar to the one adopted by Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), but will have categories.

School officials say as per KHDA stipulations, schools with 'outstanding' rating are allowed to raise the fee annually by up to 15 per cent per cent, while schools with 'good' rating can raise it by up to 12 per cent a year. Those under 'acceptable' rating can hike it up by nine per cent and ones with 'unsatisfactory' rating can increase fees by seven per cent.

There are, however, a few exceptions. Earlier this year, Mohammed Dariwsh, Chief of Licensing and Customer Relations at KHDA told Emirates Business that KHDA has permitted Dubai Modern High School to restructure its fees because of the uniqueness of the case.

The school has announced a 90-per cent fee hike over next two years. But KHDA ruled the school will not be allowed to impose changes to fees for three years after that. KHDA views relocating schools differently from existing or new schools. It analyses the investment by the school, needs of the community and parents and permits fee restructuring to strike a balance for stakeholders.

 

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