Dubai school fee hike: Schools give thumbs up, parents?

School fees will go up in 2016, a news that not many parents are understandably unhappy about.

“Everything’s getting expensive, from the rent to the grocery bills, it’s tough to manage finances," said Sreelakshmy, a parent of two school-going children.

Another parent, who did not wish to be named, said basing the hike on the school inspection rating is unfair. “This would prompt more parents to choose schools based on affordability, rather than its rating on the school inspection report,” he said, adding, “I would rather send my child to a ‘good’ school and not an ‘outstanding’ one because there’s no way I could afford it.”

Vishal K, an Indian parent, claimed the reason why he sent his children to study in Canada is because education is affordable there. “We obviously have that choice because our children have the Canadian passport.”

Schools, on the other hand, claim the increase is welcome.

“Don’t call it ‘fee hike’ but an investment towards your child’s future,” said Dinesh Kothari, PRO Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the three Delhi Private Schools in the UAE. “The calculation is in line with inflation so it’s a step in the right direction.”

He added, “We spend a lot on our schools, and our teachers and support staff get an increment every year. There’s teacher’s enrichment that we need to look into.” The school head informed that the increase in fees will go towards building resources and teachers.

The increase based on ECI of 3.21 per cent and school inspection rating is insignificant, he says.

Ashok Kumar, the CEO of Indian High School, which is rated ‘Outstanding’, said the fee hike is “welcome”.

“The increase is based on a scientific formula. It is justified. The cost of running a school has gone up, teachers’ salaries have gone up. So, schools will have to spend more.”

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Monday announced that all private schools in Dubai can increase their fees for the new academic year, based on their individual rating and the Education Cost Index (ECI).

The Dubai Statistics Centre set the new ECI at 3.21 per cent, allowing private schools in Dubai to adjust their costs for the new academic year.

According to the KHDA fee framework, schools rated 'outstanding' will be allowed to increase fees by 6.42 per cent, which is double the ECI.

'Very good' schools will be eligible for 5.61 per cent, which is 1.75 times the ECI; and, 'Good' schools will be allowed 4.81 per cent, which is 1.5 times the ECI.

The 'acceptable', 'weak' and 'very weak' will be allowed to increase by 3.21 per cent.

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