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Dubai parents welcome cap on school fee hikes, but hope for freeze

By Sneha May Francis

Parents in Dubai have welcomed the cap on previously 'spiraling' school fee hikes, but have expressed hope that the fee could have been stabilised through a freeze.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced the school fee hike for the academic year 2014-15 on Sunday. Based on the directives of the Executive Council, KHDA announced the increase for the new academic year 2014-15 as 3.48 per cent for 'outstanding' schools, 2.61 per cent for 'good' and 1.74 per cent for the rest.

"We were prepared for a much larger hike as has been the case every year. So yes, the cap is very welcome. What would have been more welcome is if there was a freeze on school fees increase for this year," said a father of two school-going children.

“It was expected. We just have to pay,” said another parent.

"I think my children's school hiked the fees by 7 per cent last year. I was resigned to a similar or larger hike this year. The 2.61 per cent increase is certainly better than what I had expected," said a mother of three.

Another parent was unsure what the school would be doing with the extra funds they would receive from parents.

“I just want to know what else will change with the fee increase. Will they provide extra stuff? I mean, where are these funds going?” she asked.

Another parent hoped that the KDHA would keep an eye on how the extra funds would be utilised by the school.

A teacher in an Indian school felt if schools were allowed to raise fees, teachers should also benefit. "Our salaries never get increased, but the school fees do," she said.

“Does this school fee hike mean an increased salary for us? If yes, then I think it would be justified. I have friends working in this profession for Dh3,000 per month,” she added.

Another teacher hoped that KHDA would come out with a salary schedule for teachers, where a minimum would be set and increments linked to school fees hike.